The Election Commission (EC) has said that it wants to keep the National Identity (NID) programme under its jurisdiction as NID is directly associated with elections.
"NID programme was initiated for preparing voter lists. If it goes to Security Service Division (SSD) of Ministry of Home Affairs, many complications may occur", said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Sunday regarding the cabinet division's directive to hand over NID programme to the SSD.
"The government has argued that no election commission in any country is involved in NID activities. However, we should not compare any other country with ours. In Bangladesh, it is difficult to keep a record even of birth dates," he added.
He further said, "Cabinet division issued a letter to the election commission at the last week of May mentioning the shifting of NID programme to the home ministry, but none had sought commission's opinion. Even we knew nothing about it."
Anyway, after receiving the letter, the issue was discussed in the commission meetings. The director general of NID Service is preparing a report containing the arguments of the commission, he added.
EC Secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khandaker will submit the report to the cabinet stating the commission's stance, he said further.
About a recent NID fraud, Nurul Huda said that fraud is more or less present in all countries and this cannot be a reason to hand over NID programme.
Earlier, Bangladesh Election Commission Officers' Association had submitted a memorandum to the CEC, protesting the government's decision to hand over NID programme.
Association's president Nuruzzaman Talukder said, "We have met with the EC Secretary and CEC. The CEC said that he knew nothing regarding the issue and would send a letter mentioning the opinion of the commission."
"In our memorandum, we have mentioned the reasons for why the NID programme should remain under EC because people may face problems in casting votes if the NID activities are transferred to another department. There might be some technical issues too," Nuruzzaman added.