Dhaka, May 27 (UNB) – Branding food adulterators as the biggest terrorists in society, former health minister and senior ruling party leader Mohammad Nasim on Monday demanded capital punishment for them.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on safe food, other speakers also echoed Nasim’s sentiment seeking maximum punishment for the food adulterators as part of a move to ensure safe food for people.
“Those who adulterate food in this month of Ramadan should be awarded death sentence as they’re killing a huge number of people by contaminating food. They’re the biggest terrorists in society,” Nasim said.
Bhejal O Madak Birodhi Andolon, a platform against food adulteration and drug abuse, arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club.
Nasim, also the spokesman of the ruling 14-party alliance, said a social movement is necessary to be launched to ensure safe food and get rid of malpractice by food traders.
He said country’s many people are suffering from various diseases, including cancer and kidney failure, due to food adulteration. “Why do you (traders) adulterate food when so many people are getting sick consuming those?”
The AL leader said traders in West Bengal of India cannot sell any fish without testing by sanitary inspectors. “But our sanitary inspectors don’t work, and they only wait for salary at the end of month.”
Nasim thinks the business bodies should come forward to stop food adulteration.
He also questioned as to why the business bodies, including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), do not suspend the membership of adulterators from their associations. “I think the level of food adulteration can be reduced substantially by giving capital punishment by court to some offenders.”
The former minister urged the Home Minister to take the issue seriously and ensure stern action against those involved in contaminating food.
He thanked the media for continuing a strong campaign to stop food adulteration in the country.
Nasim bemoaned that the food traders and the owners of superstores now lack the sense of humanity. “It’s difficult to get any food item in the country which is free from adulteration. Even, medicine companies also indulge in adulteration.”
He also observed that some food adulterators got involved with Awami League since it has been in power for a long time. “So, we must drop them from the party.”
Former Industries Minister Dilip Barua said many people are now being forced to go abroad selling their land and valuable property for receiving treatment for various diseases caused by the consumption of contaminated food.
Alongside taking stern action against those involved in food adulteration, he said, a strong social movement will have to be waged to free the nation from food adulteration.
Claiming that sexual violence, drug abuse and food adulteration are on the rise in the country, former Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu underscored the need for strict enforcement of laws to get rid of these menaces.
He also said he will place the food adulteration issue in Parliament soon.
“If you can punish drug traders and war criminals, why can’t you punish food adulterators?” Inu asked the government, saying the administration should take action against the adulterators.
He also urged politicians not to support the food adulterators. “Then Bangladesh will be free from adulteration.”
Agricultural scientist Dr Ali Afzal said lots of chemicals are mixed in food items. “Even unscrupulous millers make adulterated rice,” he said, adding that the government should strictly enforce laws to ensure safe food.
He also urged law enforcement and media to come forward to this end.
Chairman of Dhaka University’s Pharmaceutical Technology department ABM Faroque said cancer patients will decrease by 50 percent in the country if safe food can be ensured for all. “There’re 19 colours that are mixed with our foods.”
“We must establish a strong institute to ensure food security. It must be out of political influence. Strong monitoring institute for food security will help supply pure food. Or else, we all will have to suffer in the future,” he said.
Chairman of Bangladesh Press Council Justice Momtaz Uddin Ahmed said the rule of law is much needed right now.
He also underscored the need for ensuring people’s participation in enforcing laws.
Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB) President Abul Khair said a slaughterer kills a man but a food adulterator kills the nation, demanding their capital punishment.