August 24 21:01 2019 Print This Article

In order to pay respects to the recently deceased Swapan Mallik, General Secretary of Nabagram BNP Committee until his death, a meeting was held yesterday. A handful of party activists gathered but the meeting was forcibly broken up after an hour when the police appeared and asked the gathering to be disbanded. Fearing atrocity, the already thin gathering dispersed immediately.

Such is the condition of BNP in suburban and rural Bangladesh now! A veteran in his own right, Swapan Mallik was a fearless campaigner and leader of Nabagram BNP. His life was marked by fearlessness, debts, fights, imprisonment, failure to rise to the top, and unyielding support from the BNP supporters in these parts.

But, his waywardness saw the family becoming crippled financially, taking out huge amount of loans – part of which was to set up and settle his cousin, Sukanta Mallik in the UK of whom he was said to have been very proud.

The Mallik family suffer from twin dangers: one from the Awami-sponsored creditors and the other is from the other Hindus in the area. For historical reason it is entrenched somewhat that Hindu and other minorities would generally support Awami League. Mallik family have been one of the rare exceptions in this regard. Laxmi Kanta Baul, related to the Mallik family through his marriage to this family, was a member of parliament for BNP thus cementing and inspiring the BNP-allegiance in the family. However, these affiliations, clearly, have come at a steep price given the allegations of harassment, discrimination, intimidation and taunting visited upon this family. Sukanta Mallik, for example, one of the family members said, would not be able to come to Bangladesh under the circumstances if he were to lead a normal life. Because, he lamented, this life is not normal here for them.

None of these problems were discussed in the meeting yesterday. It was the thin crowd that could not even mourn their departed leader long enough.

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