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The dark side of development

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05th-Aug-2019       
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A 'Vulnerable Group Feeding' card seeker was killed and 10 others injured when a chaotic situation created during distribution of the cards and VGF rice at Phulpur Mohila Degree College in Mymensingh on Saturday. The dead Hafiz Uddin, 60, was a day labourer from Phulpur upazila.
Of the injured, another VGF card seeker Khokon Mia, 32, was undergoing treatment at the local health complex while three others, including a local correspondent of Daily Sangbad, who was at the scene on duty, were released after being given primary treatment. Police said the number of VGF card seekers was more than that in the prepared list. The huge crowd was jostling, pushing and shoving amongst themselves at the venue.
 While the card distribution was taking place, the card seekers outside the gate at one point broke in and entered the venue around 2:00pm and chaos ensued. On information, police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. However, an eye-witness preferring anonymity said that police who were already there at the venue to oversee the distribution, charged batons on the card seekers as soon the gate broke open and the card seekers entered the premises.
While it is true that we as a nation have to be more disciplined and orderly it is also equally true that the police had no right to charge batons on the card seekers when the gate broke open. The fault lies with the District Administration for not preparing the lists properly. The long lines and the breaking of the gate was a direct result of this.
So we can't really blame the people seeking VGF cards as they are among the most socio-economically disadvantaged group in the nation. They are jostling and breaking down gates for simple survival--not for any luxury. The police should have taken note of this and behaved accordingly instead of treating the people like animals. The poor have a right to be fed just like everyone else.
When there is a wave of development in the country and government claims a steady economic growth of around 7 percent, at that time a number of ultra poor people are fighting among themselves to get a VGF card. This is the reality!


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