In a confounding turn of events, the mayors of Rajshahi and Sylhet City Corporations were suspended Sunday morning within hours of assuming office.
Both mayors had been suspended earlier because of their imprisonment in several cases.
Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Ariful Haque Chowdhury, the mayors of Rajshahi and Sylhet City Corporations respectively, were elected in 2013 with BNP endorsement.
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Mayor Bulbul at his office Dhaka Tribune
They won a legal battle in January when the High Court ruled in their favour and re-instated their mayoralty. The High Court had also called the decision to suspend them illegal.
However, the Local Government Division issued several circulars Sunday morning, again removing them from office.
The mayor who could barely seat
Mayor Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul believed he could finally take assume office after a two-year-long legal battle after he was suspended in May 2015.
The LGRD Ministry suspended Bulbul when he was charged in four cases during anti-government movements in 2015.
Bulbul had filed a writ petition with the High Court which declared the government directive that had suspended him was illegal.
On Sunday morning, Bulbul entered the Rajshahi City Corporation office but found the mayor’s office locked. RCC Chief Executive Officer ABM Sharifuddin claimed he had no knowledge of the office being locked.
Bulbul went on to denounce the act and said: “This is all part of a greater conspiracy to keep me out to impede development and progress in Rajshahi.”
Around 1:30pm, CEO Sharifuddin instructed a locksmith to unlock the mayor’s office. After four hours of waiting, Bulbul finally stepped foot inside his office.
His staff immediately began to catalogue the contents of the room and clean it for the mayor’s work to begin.
At that moment, a letter arrived from the Local Government Division of the LGRD Ministry which said Bulbul had been suspended once again.
Bulbul, now frustrated and fed up, said the law was on his side and he would not leave his office again.
Sharifuddin came out in support of the mayor, saying Bulbul can continue using the office until the legal fiasco is sorted out.
Bulbul, who is also the president of Rajshahi city BNP unit, proceeded to exit the city corporation office with his followers.
The mayor who was in office for three hours
Mayor Ariful Haque Choudhury was in office for three hours.
In December 2014, he was accused of the murder of five including former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria.
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Mayor Ariful at his office, surrounded by his loyal followers Dhaka Tribune
In March 2016, he was also charged with attempted murder of Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta.
The murder charges and the subsequent imprisonment led to his suspension in January 2015.
Mayor Ariful arrived at the city corporation office around 11am Sunday where he was greeted with pomp and circumstance by his followers and city corporation employees.
He met with several senior officers throughout the morning till a letter arrived at 2pm from the Local Government Division, informing him of his renewed suspension.
Habiganj mayor ousted
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Habiganj Municipality Mayor GK Gaus File Photo
Habiganj Municipality Mayor GK Gaus has also been suspended on Sunday.
Gaus, another BNP leader, is listed with Ariful in the Kibria murder case and the attempted murder of Suranjit.
Mayor Gaus had been arrested in 2014, and stood in the polls while in prison. He won by a landslide and had taken his mayoral oath on parole. But, he could not assume office immediately.
The High Court granted bail to Gaus on January 4 this year. He was finally able to assume office on March 23.
Just after ten days of work, Gaus has been suspended yet again.
Habiganj Deputy Commissioner Sabina Alam confirmed that the Local Government Division had issued the suspension of Mayor Gaus.