No one is ready to take responsibilities for Papia's dramatic rise

  • Kazi Mobarak Hossain, Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-02-26 04:37:41 BdST

Shamima Noor Papia alias Piu rose spectacularly to the leadership of Jubo Mohila League almost out of nowhere on the backing of numerous people despite having little organisational experience under her belt.

Now no one is willing to take responsibilities for her rise after her arrest and revelation of alleged involvement in a series of crimes such as trading in drugs and arms, helping others grab land, and running illegal sex trade in a luxury hotel in Dhaka.

Jubo Mohila League, the Awami League’s associate body for young women, has expelled her while the ruling party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said her backers will be identified.

Papia was general secretary of the organisation in Narsingdi, having secured the post in 2014.

Was she active in politics in Narsingdi? Leaders of the Awami League and its affiliates in Narsingdi say ‘no’.

Daughter of Saiful Bari, a retired driver of Petrobangla from Bhagdi Markaz Mosque neighbourhood of Narsingdi town, Papia was enrolled to class 11 at Narsingdi Government College in 2009 and then to an undergraduate course in 2012.

Ahsanul Islam Rimon, general secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Narsingdi district unit, said, “I had never seen her involved in student politics.”

A former BCL leader said Papia used to be busy with her relationships with the boys at the college and faced many complaints over the issue.

Before getting the post, Papia married Mofizur Rahman Sumon alias Sumon Chowdhury alias Moti Sumon, a former convenor of BCL at Narsingdi town, in 2012.

Sumon also got his post two years after the marriage.

He had been in jail for a long time over the 2001 murder of Manik Mia, a commissioner of Narsingdi municipality. On his release from prison in 2010, he was greeted with flowers by the then Narsingdi BCL president Shah Alam and general secretary Shamim Newaz.

Shamim’s brother Lokman Hossain, a key accused in Manik murder case, became mayor in 2004 and made Sumon his bodyguard.

PASSING THE BUCK

Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Akter and General Secretary Apu Ukil held a council in Narsingdi in 2014, but they could not announce the new leadership for the unit at the time. They announced the new committee through a press release from Dhaka naming Papia as general secretary.

Leaders in Narsingdi claim the central leaders had to form the committee in Dhaka after they had faced objection to their efforts to install Papia as general secretary.

Narsingdi District Awami League President Nazrul Islam Hiru, a former state minister, told bdnews24.com he and several others had objected when Papia’s name was proposed for the post.

Speaking to bdnews24.com, Nazma claimed a quarter in Narisingdi had forced her to make Papia the general secretary though she had not held any post earlier.

She denied the allegation that Papia bagged the post in exchange for money.

Asked who recommended Papia for the post, the organisation’s president said, “You will find out everything if you check who had good relations with her. Many of us had personal and business relations with her. Find it out.”  

Papia’s photos with a number of Awami League leaders, including government ministers, have gone viral on social media after her arrest.

Leaders of Jubo Mohila League said General Secretary Apu supported Papia during the council.

Apu denied the claim and said Narsingdi Awami League leaders proposed Papia’s name. She also said she had no knowledge of Papia’s wrongdoings.

“We form the committees after discussions with leaders of districts. Many leaders in Narsingdi, including the then president, general secretary and MPs and ministers, had recommended this girl [Papia],” Apu said.

The then Narsingdi District Awami League President Asaduzzaman has died. Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, a former minister from the district, is bedridden with illness.

The incumbent chief of the unit, Hiru, said Apu had claimed she had faced “pressure from the top brass” to make Papia general secretary.

“Now she (Apu) must name those who had pressured her,” Hiru said.

Late mayor Lokman’s brother Kamruzzaman Kamrul, who is mayor now, said he had objected to Papia getting the post during the council as well due to her being “too ambitious”.

“And now you can see why I did not want this to happen,” he added.

BCL leader Rimon said it was clear from Papia’s lifestyle that she had a lot of money.

“She had 10 to 12 motorcycles escorting her car whenever she went out in Narsingdi. We always wondered where she got the money from,” he said.

Papia and Sumon run a gang styled “Q and C” in Narsingdi for extortion, drugs business and maintain control, the RAB said.

Forcing women into sex work is another source of their income, a RAB official said.

TUHIN DENIES BACKING PAPIA

Sabina Akter Tuhin, president of Jubo Mohila League’s Dhaka Metropolitan North unit and a former MP, has refuted allegations that she had supported Papia.

Tuhin says she had no relation other than an organisational one with Papia.

“I didn’t even know Papia when she became general secretary of Narsingdi unit in 2014. I came to know her in 2017,” Tuhin said. 

“She used to meet me at my home regularly as I was an MP and she lived near me,” Tuhin added.

She also claimed Papia stopped being in touch with her a year ago.

Tuhin believes her rivals were making allegations of her having ties with Papia to damage her.

“There are photos of Papia with many other leaders, including MPs and ministers,” she said in a bid to refer to the people Papia had links with.