Debts, Political Might, and their Ugly Combinations

September 21 10:09 2019 Print This Article

The absence of adequate and fair debt-management system in Bangladesh has reared its ugly head again recently in a tragic development involving a BNP-supporting Hindu minority family. Mallik family from Nabagram borrowed heavily over the past decade to address their own financial woes caused by social and economic ostracisation because of their political links and to fund the business and personal expenditures of Sukanta Mallik, now residing in the UK. Sukanta Mallik’s elder brother is handicapped and has no earning or otherwise capacity. Treatment for this also requires huge sums of money, money that had to be borrowed. Most of the debts were in the family members’ names although most of it also had Mr. Sukanta Mallik’s name as well.

Failure to repay these debts was compounded by the fact that Mallik family’s prominent member, Late Swapan Mallik, was the General Secretary of Nabagram BNP Committee and this association scarred the family a great deal. The hostility is double-edged: one from the government-supported creditors with their underhanded means and might and the other from the Hindu community which consider the Mallik family a traitor given the Hindu minority has always been generally in favour of the ruling party, Awami League.


The family told this correspondent that whilst the family tried to carry on repaying the debts as long they could, given Sukanta’s poor financial circumstances in the UK and the lack of capable earners in Bangladesh, many repayments were missed.  Sukanta Mallik has been unable to repay the funds on account of having faced harsh immigration decisions in the UK leading to a sharp decline in his earning capacity in the UK. But, the family came under fierce pressure from the creditors who often resorted to threats, intimidation and taunting in order to recoup the funds borrowed by Sukanta Mallik’s family. Legal actions have been threatened by the lending companies but the primary mode of action has been political.


This correspondent tried to contact some of the commercial creditors but they declined to comment. The family refused to name the other creditors in fear of repercussions.

The court that deals with unpaid debts has declined to comment on individual cases but this case surely highlights one of the most persistent social ills in Bangladesh in that there is no fair and equitable debt-management system. The government has no real initiative or legal redress to deal with issues such as this which turn a simply matter of debt into a matter of security, safety and life and death.


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