Hats off to Shafiqul
Md Shafiqul Islam, a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) of Bangladesh Rail wayshas recently turned talk of the country for his professionalism, and sense of responsibility. The way he hit the limelight brings to fore that all the good apples of the basket have not run outyet. Shafiqul, a textbook example of professional commitment, honesty and firmness in the face of any adverse situation is no doubt an eye opener for every single professional working in country's different sectors. In fact, such an instance of remaining uncompromising with any injustice has long been missed in the country.
He performed his duties utterly ignoring the bloodshot eyes even with a threat of losing job.
Although he was finally suspended from his job on the false excuse of misbehaving with passenger, he won the heart of millions; obviously a complete moral defeat for any sinister force.
Let us start our second phase of story. Any sound and mentally rich people may be stunnedon hearing the event.As of a retired rail way officer, dutyof a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) to check the illegally travelling passengers is normal,and if a passenger would travel train without ticket is legally bound to face monetary fine. This is one TTE regular duties.
The brief history of the incident is that three passengers boarded Sundarbans Express from Ishwardi railway junction station on 5 May and were going to Dhaka in an AC cabin without tickets. As part of regular duty, Shafiqulasked the passengers at one point for their tickets.
Instead of complying with the query, they introduced themselves as the minister's relatives.
But the Shafiqul stood firm on his duty; he fined and gave them three tickets for regular seats in a non-AC coach. Immediately after Shafiqul's timely and responsible intervention of illegall train journey, the Railway's Pakshi DCO Nasir uddin suspended him following a phone call of rail minister's new wife.
Question raises, has the rail minister handed over charge to his newly married wife?
The suspension news was a bolt from the blue for Shafiqul as he deserved for reward for revenue collection and exemplary punishment of the three relatives of rail way minister for violatinglaws of rail ways. Ironically, it was the TTE who received punishment as his reward!!
However, it triggered huge social media uproar in protest countrywide. Later all private TV channels and some you tubers protested and created a massive protest and created hatred against such a decision by the rail ways authority. Some media houses protested and termed him as patriot and devoted to his duty.
An innocent looking, God fearing practicing Muslimwith no criminal record in life, he got suspension order calling into question the ethics of management.
In the mean time the rail minister was interviewed with some senior journalists regarding the issue and asked about the offence of Shafiqul. At first the rail minister denied that three passengers were his relatives and pleaded for suspension of TTE Shafiqul and termed that the TTE misbehaved with the passengers. The rail way high officials and the minister tried to brand the TTE Shafiqul as insane, hot tempered drug addicted. Butthe next day in a mysterious way the minister changed his voice and started to tell that his wife did not do the work in right way in a short of his conjugal life he did not understand his wife fully!
Refuting the high ups allegation he replied in a forth right voice, "I have to do work for my country, I have to do work for rail ways. Abolisher of Slavery prudence, Abraham Lincoln Quotes, "It is a sin to be silent when it is your duty to protest."
After publishing the news of suspension order of a dutiful man, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on May 7 condemned the suspension of a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) for fining three people claiming to be railway minister Nurul Islam's relatives for travelling without tickets.
TIB said, "As such a situation has arisen involving the railway minister and as the ticketless passengers used his identity, he should resign from his position temporarily for the sake of a fair and impartial investigation into the incident."
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said, "The incident is a shameless and vile example of abuse of power and power has been misused in two ways in this incident. Firstly, the ticketless passengers claimed to be the relatives of the railway minister assuming that the existing law of the railways does not apply to them! Secondly, The TTE was immediately suspended over a phone call without being given any chance to defend himself."
The concerned ticket examiner had fulfilled his duty but dismissing him when he should have been rewarded sent the wrong message to the people that the seizure of power and irregularities are the reality, he said.
Who know the famous quotation of English Law expert William Blackstone, "it is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer". We hope our law minister will take into account the famous saying.
Being a law student, my teacher Supreme court Former President Barrister Shaque Ahmed habitually said in his class the ethics of the law is that law couldnot tolerate that an innocent was given punishment.
The patriot TTE did his graduation in law from Kustia Islamic University but due to poverty he could not complete theLLM. He obtained TTE job facing tough competition in 2013.
He is neither a rich man nor an influential man and his father was a poor man. He lived on a house built in a ten decimal land at Jhenaidah; He lived in a soil made hose. His living standard corresponds with that of our seven glorious seven Bir Shresthos who sacrificed their lives for an exploitation- free independent Bangladeshabove personal gain.In TTE Shafiqul's bravado, also reflected the spirit of an egalitariansociety. Hats off to him.
Deepak Eojbalia is with the Daily Observer