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BCL men ‘stop work’ of Panchagarh model mosque for extortion
The construction site of the Model Mosque in Tentulia upazila. Inset: Broken chairs. Photo: UNB

BCL men ‘stop work’ of Panchagarh model mosque for extortion

Panchagarh, Sept 19 (UNB) – Local activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) reportedly stopped work on a model mosque in Tentulia upazila on Thursday as the contractor refused to give them Tk 20 lakh as toll.

They, led by Kazi Masfiqur Rahman Sakib, general secretary of upazila unit BCL, also beat the contractor, an engineer and workers, alleged contractor Nazmul Haque.

He said Sakib and his followers demanded Tk 20 lakh from him as he got the contract for constructing the mosque. “A group of 20-30 men, led by Sakib, came to the site in the morning and forced us to stop the work as we refused to give them money,” he said.

They also vandalised chairs, table and temporary houses built for the work and beat him and engineer Husain Md Safi Mondal and some workers, the contractor alleged.

Contacted, Sakib denied the allegation, saying, “We didn’t do anything like that. I don’t believe in extortion. But I wanted to manage work for my followers.”

Sadar union parishad Chairman Kazi Anisur Rahman, also Sakib’s father, also denied the allegation. “Some BCL leaders came to me to give them the scope to supply some materials for the project. That’s why they roam around the site.”

Husain Md Safi Mondal, deputy engineer of Panchagarh Public Works Department, said, the incident took place in his presence and he was also manhandled. “I informed the higher authorities of the incident,” he added.

Jahurul Islam, officer-in-charge of Tentulia Model Police Station, said he visited the spot after hearing the incident. “We’ll take legal steps after getting complaints,” he said.

The government initiated to set up some 560 model mosques across the country, aiming to develop and spread the Islamic values and culture.