The attempt on Wahida Khanam, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Ghoraghat, Dinajpur and her father in her official residence on the night of September 2 is more than an indication of rising incidence of crimes after a lull during the pandemic shutdown. When coronavirus started its rampage, even the criminals were taken aback by the extraordinary and ubiquitous threat it posed. Now, they seem to have resumed their old habits that die hard with a renewed vigour. So daring have some of the criminals grown that they could not care less if their target is the highest representative of the administration at the local government level. This is exactly at this point the vicious attack on the UNO at her official residence counts as a cause for serious concern. It is in a way an attack on the government which operates through such officers at the important tier of the administration.
Although the arrested have confessed to attacking the UNO and her father, they claim they entered the house for theft. Prima facie evidence, however, tells a different story. No valuables, including even the smart phone that was found on the UNO's bed after the incident, were missing. Reports have it that Ghoraghat is a transit point of smuggled goods from across the border. As the highest executive of the upazila, UNO Wahida perhaps could not turn a blind eye to the criminal practices resorted to by influential gangs and thus drew their ire. It is simple knowledge that thieves do not carry hammer and are not likely to enter the top upazila officer's residence for burglary and strike blows on the head until they are sure the attack could cause death . The Bangladesh Administrative Services Association (BASA) has also made a similar claim. It considers the attack premeditated.
Thus this attack assumes a far graver significance than it appears at the first look. Burglars are supposed to be deterred by the aura associated with the status and the executive power a UNO commands. The criminals are likely to opt for the number one upazila officer's residence for burglary if only they are ludicrously foolish or of the most hardened type. Maybe, a vicious gang is behind a planned attack. They are so desperate that they have forgotten the reaction of the government to this crime. Their compulsion is far greater than the fear that all the administrative apparatus will be put into action in order to nab the criminals.
Now that some of the suspects have already been arrested, the guiding motive and their godfathers, if any, must be identified for a decisive proof that the arm of the administration and more importantly justice is too long to spare such rapacious criminals. It is puzzling, though, why the UNO's brother has to file the case. After all, the incident has occurred in the UNO's official residence and at her duty station. Either the law enforcement agency or the public prosecutors should have taken up the legal proceedings in her favour. We pray for the UNO's full recovery and demand exemplary punishment to all involved in the attack on the UNO. Meanwhile, security of all such officers has to be ensured.