'Within a month the Jubo Mohila League’s council will be held and after that a new committee will take charge'
After nearly a two-decade-long dominance of the Jubo Mohila League, the youth women front of the ruling Awami League, by Nazma Akhtar and Apu Ukil, the duo’s leadership may come to an end following the arrest of their fellow leader Shamima Nur Papia.
Seeking anonymity, some top leaders of the Awami League told Dhaka Tribune that within a very short time, Nazma Akhtar and Apu Ukil, president and general secretary respectively of Jubo Mohila League, would be dropped from their positions and the process of forming a new committee would be initiated through the national council of the Jubo Mohila League.
Kazi Zafrullah, a presidium member of the Awami League, told Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday: “The new committee of the Jubo Mohila League is ready to be formed soon.”
“Within a month the Jubo Mohila League’s council will be held and after that a new committee will take charge,” added Kazi Zafrullah.
Some senior leaders of the Awami League told this correspondent that Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was very angry after knowing about the scandal involving Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Nur Papia.
The matter was discussed on the sidelines of the February 24 meeting of the Awami League’s local government nomination board. It was presided over by Premier Sheikh Hasina.
Sources said that at the meeting, some senior leaders of the Awami League suggested that the party chief discard the current committee of the Jubo Mohila League and form a new one as soon as possible. Some even recommended abolishing the Jubo Mohila League altogether.
In reply to the suggestions by the senior leaders, the party chief said: “Those who are involved with unlawful activities will not be spared. I will take action against all of them.”
Party insiders told Dhaka Tribune that there had been reports of Jubo Mohila League activists’ involvement in unlawful activities for a long time, though no substantial proof was ever found till the arrest of Narsingdi district unit General Secretary Shamima Nur Papia.
When contacted, Nazma Akhter and Apu Ukil told the correspondent on Wednesday that they had asked the party chief for a preferable date to hold the national council.
Nazma and Apu went to the prime minister’s official residence in Ganobhabon on Wednesday afternoon and sought mercy. Nazma said the PM asked them to find others in the committee who are involved with crimes like Papia.
Sources at Gonobhaban said the AL chief was not pleased to be in their presence.
Regarding the holding of the national council, senior Jubo Mohila League leaders on Tuesday were busy in a closed-door `emergency meeting’ at the Awami League President’s Dhanmondi office.
When asked about the meeting, Daisy Sarwar, vice president of Jubo Mohila League told Dhaka Tribune: “We senior leaders have discussed the current situation of our organization and our President Nazma Akhter and General Secretary Apu Ukil were also present in the meeting.”
“We have briefed our leaders that if they know anyone like Papia in the Jubo Mohila League then they should let us know about them as soon as possible. We do not want women like Papia in our organization at any level,” added Daisy.
Earlier, on 22 February, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) detained four members of a gang of currency counterfeiters and seized fake currencies of various countries from their possession at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
RAB 1 Commanding Officer Shafi Ullah Bulbul, at a press conference at the battalion’s Karwan Bazar media centre, said Shamima Nur Papiya was the ringleader of the gang and smuggled counterfeit notes.
“She is also involved in illegal arms and drug trading, and runs a prostitution racket,” he added.
Following the arrest, on 23 February, Jubo Mohila League suspended its Narsingdi District unit General Secretary Shamima Nur Papiya from the organization.
The Jubo Mohila League was founded in 2002 with a convening committee headed by the Nazma-Apu duo. On March 5, 2014, the Jubo Mohila League held its first council electing the two as president and general secretary respectively. On 11 March 2017, Nazma and Apu were reelected president and general secretary of the Jubo Mohila League at the second national triennial council.
Under the constitution of the organization, the existing committee will complete its tenure on 11 March this year.