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Is selling vegetables the right way to protest?

  • Published at 03:36 pm November 24th, 2017
  • Last updated at 10:35 pm November 24th, 2017
Is selling vegetables the right way to protest?
Who is the last person you would expect to sell vegetables? When a mobile court fined Kushtia Orthopedic and General Hospital following charges of irregularities, the clinic's authority hoisted a banner and set up a vegetable market in front of their premises as a form of protest. On Tuesday, the clinic was charged with stockpiling huge quantities of expired medicine and was fined with Tk4 lakh. Earlier on Monday, a mobile court led by Executive Magistrate Gausul Azam and a Rapid Action Battalion team, conducted a drive at seven different private clinics of Kushtia city for having unlicensed doctors, nurses, technicians, and expired life-saving drugs. The clinics - Amin Diagnostic Centre, Kushtia Orthopedic and General Hospital (KOGH), Ekata Diagnostic Center, Shaon Clinic, New Sun Diagnostic Centre, Baishakhi Clinic and Save Diagnostic Centre - were fined Tk21 lakh in total, and four fake technicians were sent to jail. In protest, KOGH authorities said: “It is beneficial and honourable for us to sell vegetables rather than running clinics because we are less likely to get fined [this way] and will not require any approval from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission.” All the staff members of KOGH are taking part in the small market where potatoes, eggplants, and other kinds of vegetables are being sold. On Wednesday, as the KOGH authorities protested against the mobile court's operation, a storm of discussion and criticism stirred up on social media. The tiny market also created a lot of interest among potential customers. However, many are dissatisfied by the clinic's stance. A resident of Kushtia's Kortpara area, Shafiqur Rahman, said: "The clinic authorities are making a mockery of this protest. For many years these clinics [who were charged] have been cheating people in the name of health services." He applauded the mobile court's campaign and demanded that they continue such drives. Various sources claimed that one of the owners of KOGH, Dr Ratan Kumar Pal, charges patients Tk700 per visit, which is unusually high in the city. Meanwhile, another owner, Abdul Kader said: "We are being harassed in the name of [mobile court] drive." Kushtia Deputy Commissioner Md Zahir Raihan said: "The matter came to my notice. We will take necessary measures in this regard." When contacted, Kushtia Civil Surgeon Dr Rowshan Ara Begum said: "I got to know about the matter through social media. They [the clinic authorities] are abusing the law.” She said she would have to look into whether she has the authority to take any action on the issue. Profitable or not, selling vegetables sounds like a radical idea. But what is more radical is not adhering to rules which cannot be condoned.