THE death threat to Professor Anu Muhammad, member secretary of the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports, is alarming. As New Age reported on Friday, he received the death threat in a text message about 1:00am on Thursday. Moreover, when he went to the Rampura police in Dhaka to file a general diary in this connection about 8:45pm, he received another death threat from the same mobile number. Death threats to different minority religious leaders as well as liberally thinking teachers, writers, cultural activists and bloggers from different extremist groups have become almost a regular phenomenon for the past few years. Worse still, many of the people who received death threats in the period have already fallen victim to fatal attacks. In this context, the police should seriously look into the matter at hand without any delay. While investigating the matter, however, they should take into consideration the fact that the threat might have been linked more to the campaign of the national committee against the construction of the controversial Rampal power plant near the Sunderbans for some years now.
It is all the more so as the second threat clearly asked Professor Anu to accept the coal-based plant or to get ready to be hacked to death. One can also refer in this connection to the recent vitriolic campaign by different pro-Rampal people, especially ruling party leaders and activists, against him and other campaigners against the plant that, as experts at home and abroad fear, once in operation, may end up posing a threat to the existence of the largest contiguous mangrove forest of the world. Above all, the civic group in question came under repeated attacks from law enforcement agencies and ruling party hooligans in recent times. Just a few days ago, the police and leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the ruling party’s student wing, foiled an anti-Rampal cycle procession organised by youths linked to the national committee in the capital. In July, when the national committee organised a march towards the Prime Minister’s Office in protest at the Rampal plant, the police charged at them with truncheons and fired teargas shells in indiscriminately. Also in September 2009, Professor Anu was seriously injured when the police attacked a peaceful procession in the capital against leasing out a number of deep-sea energy blocks to a multinational company on terms that are detrimental to national interest.
As all active mobile numbers have already been registered with the government, it now should not be difficult for the police to identify the person/s who gave the death threats to Professor Anu Muhammad. Hence, the police are expected to sincerely conduct the investigation and bring the culprit/s to justice. It is all the more important not only to ensure the security to Professor Anu’s life but also to prevent the recurrence of such criminal incidents.
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