Uproar in JS over clubs, alcohol, gambling

Special Correspondent

18 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Parliament experienced an uproar on Thursday as treasury and opposition bench lawmakers locked horns to blame each other over the club culture, alcohol consuming and gambling.

A ruling party lawmaker held BNP founder Ziaur Rahman responsible for allowing licences for consuming alcohol and gambling in the country while a BNP lawmaker refuted the allegation, saying that Zia allowed licences for the people of other religions and morgue workers.

Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu stirred the debate at the beginning of the session after an actress’ allegation of rape had taken a centre stage of discussion in the country.

The lawmakers also raised questions over holding the membership of those clubs by government officials as such a membership costs a huge amount of money.

Where does all the money come from and the amount of alcohol being sold at those clubs is legal or not?

Treasury bench lawmaker Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid, Tarikat Federation MP Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary and JP chief whip Mashiur Rahman Ranga took part in the discussion with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

Leader of the House and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also present at the House.

Taking the floor on a point of order, Chunnu said a discussion about an actress has been going on for the last few days.

“The spot of the incident is Uttara Boat Club. Who has established the club and who are the members of the club? I have heard a membership of the club costs Tk 50 to 60 lakh. Who becomes member of the club spending so much money? We cannot think of it and I even do not income such amount in life,” he said.

 Mentioning names of such clubs, the JP lawmaker said alcohol had been served at those clubs and gambling was also held there.

“A licence is mandatory for having alcohol in Bangladesh. But, gallons of alcohol are being sold. If any licence-holder takes alcohol, such amount of alcohol is not to be sold,” he said.

 “How the government officials become members of these clubs? Where does all the money come from?” he posed questions.

Seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention in stopping ‘DJ Party’ in posh areas, Chunnu said, “DJ Party is being held in Gulshan-Baridhara areas. An event of dancing takes place there and alcohol is also taken there. But such events are not allowed by the laws of the land while our culture and religion do not permit such matters too.”

“I request the prime minister to direct the home minister to inquire about those matters. Why such events would not be stopped?” he added. 

Taking the floor, Sheikh Selim held BNP founder Ziaur Rahman responsible for allowing alcohol and gambling in the country.

“Ziaur Rahman established Steamer Club. Bangabandhu cancelled licences of alcohol and gambling while Ziaur Rahman opened it. Those, who had started the process, must be tried first. It should be started from the beginning,” he said.

Brushing aside the claim of the ruling party lawmaker, BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid said, “Many foreigners live in Bangladesh. Besides this, alcohol is permitted for the people of other religions and Dom but not for Muslims. If anyone proves that Ziaur Rahman has given the permission for Muslims, I may tender my resignation.”

The BNP lawmaker alleged that ruling party people had been engaged in the business of alcohol at the clubs.

“Police take money from those sectors. The Prime Minister is not for any party rather she is premier of the state. Such matters should be looked into,” he said.

Taking the floor again, Sheikh Selim said, “Did they forget the dance of Lucky Khan? Hizbul Bahar? Ziaur Rahman acted those.”

Claiming that the government did not allow Muslims to take alcohol, Selim said, “If the government wants to stop such things, you will make hue and cry. You may say that permission will be needed for foreigners.”