A large number of locally-made sharp iron tools have been seized from a blacksmith’s workshop at Valukia road in Ukhia upazila’s Koatbazar area of Cox’s Bazar, causing fears among local people.
M Fakhrul Islam, assistant commissioner (Land) and an executive magistrate, conducted the drive at the shop on Monday.
When the news of the drive spread throughout the area, many curious people gathered around the workshop and took photos of the tools.
Some of them posted the photos on Facebook spreading rumours that the tools were made for Rohingyas, which caused fears among locals.
Failure of Rohingya repatriation on August 22 and the recent murder of a Juba League leader in Teknaf’s Nhila union added fuel to people’s reactions over the incident.
Fakhrul said, “A special source informed us that a large number of sharp iron tools were being made in the workshop of a blacksmith named Adhir Das.”
A local NGO named Mukti Cox’s Bazar financed it for giving those tools to Rohingyas, he said.
“After hearing that, we conducted the drive with the help of law enforcement agencies and seized the tools,” he added.
The blacksmith said a person named Saiful from Valukia area ordered for 2,600 hoes before Eid-ul-Adha.
The price of each piece of tool was fixed at Tk 45, amounting a total of Tk1.17lakh. Of the amount, Tk30,000 were given as advance, according to him.
Though these were supposed to be delivered on August 16, the work could not be completed in due time, Adhir said.
So, he was trying to complete the work hastily, he added.
However, Bimal Chandra Dey, chief executive of Mukti, said the organization was running a project to help local people, who suffered losses because of the Rohingyas.
One thousand local people in Nhila of Teknaf upazila were being trained up on the arena of agriculture under the project, said Bimal.
The hoes were supposed to be given to these people after the completion of the training, he said.
The tools were ordered by the organisation’s tender committee.
Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and the upazila administration were informed of the matter, he claimed.
He said a man from Ukhia was given the contract to make those tools and the directors’ committee of the NGO was informed of the matter.
UNO of Ukhia upazila M Nikaruzzaman Chowdhury Robin said the recovered sharp tools looked like agricultural tools.
As there were some confusions regarding those instruments, the NGO’s officials concerned and the contractor would be summoned to the upazila office.
If all the papers were produced properly, the tools would be returned, he said.
Otherwise, legal actions would be taken, he added.
Mukti is also running several other projects in some of the Rohingya camps.