Media: The Independent
Original URL: Life of ‘a man of struggle’ comes to an end
E-paper URL: Life of ‘a man of struggle’ comes to an end
As an undisputed leader, ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury fought for the rights of the people of Chittagong and for the interests of the port city throughout his life. Such was his dedication to his struggle for the rights of the people that it even put him at odds with his own political party. From his early career to shortly before his death, he was engaged in struggling for the rights of the people. He was involved in the anti-autocracy movement in 1990 and led several movements to protect Chittagong port and the non-cooperation movement against former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia and former president HM Ershad.
In 1996, he led a movement to protect Chittagong port when his government (led by the Awami League) decided to involve an American company in the operations of Chittagong port. He recently led a movement against the hike in the holding tax by the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Though the CCC mayor is the secretary of the city unit AL, he organised a rally at Laldigi field with other AL leaders against the CCC’s decision to hike holding tax. He also served a letter on the incumbent mayor.
The veteran leader and former CCC mayor passed away at a private hospital in Chittagong. The demise of the popular leader is a loss of immeasurable magnitude for the port city, lamented the people of Chittagong. He was popular among all the people, beyond their political identities. All people received a helping hand from him. He was popular for his hospitality. Nobody could return from his home without eating. He often arranged traditional Mezban for the people at his home. Political analysts said his popularity helped him garner support, cutting across party lines.
BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said, “We had worked for the rights of the people. He protested many controversial decisions relating to the development of Chittagong.”
He had served as mayor in Chittagong city for 16 years, from 1994 to 2005. During his tenures, he revamped the education and healthcare systems and improved the city’s cleanliness. He established schools, colleges, and Premier University for expanding education. He established maternity hospitals, charitable hospitals and computer colleges.
His dream was to build up Chittagong as a Satellite City like Singapore. He was the most dynamic and popular mayor the CCC ever had. He also served as the general secretary for the Chittagong city unit of the AL for 24 years. He became the president of the Chittagong city unit of the AL on June 27, 2006, and served as its president till his death.
When the Army-backed government assumed power in 2007, he was arrested. He was incarcerated in various prisons across the country. While in prison without trial during the rule of the Army-backed government, his beloved daughter Tumpa was diagnosed with blood cancer in Thailand. The government did not allow him to meet his daughter at the beginning. When he was finally able to go there, she had passed away, on October 17, 2008.
Dr Anupam Sen, vice-chancellor of Premier University, told The Independent: “We have lost not only a great leader but also a guardian of Chittagong. With his death, the country has lost a great leader. Throughout his life, he struggled for the rights of the people.”
“Mohiuddin Chowdhury is the founder of modern Chittagong. He left no stone unturned for the development of the port city. During his student life, he worked for the freedom of Bangladesh. He later took part in the Liberation War,” added Dr Sen.
“He was the leader who thought for the slum dwellers. He introduced the service for the expectant mothers living in slums to ensure safe births,” added Dr Sen. “Sometimes he struggled against the decisions of the AL government to uphold the rights of Chittagong’s people.”
“The death of the veteran leader has caused an immeasurable loss. Not only the Chittagong AL, but all the people of Chittagong have lost a guardian. It is because of his leadership that Chittagong forged ahead to its present position,” said Khurshed Alam Sujan, vice-president of the AL city unit.