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Friday, April 20, 2018

When punishment is reading books

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Tanjir Islam happens to be involved in the money exchange trade at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. Recently, he was seen calling out to passengers, obviously to offer his services to them. But as he was doing so, an airport magistrate, not happy about his behavior, stepped into the scene.

In addition to the punishment prescribed for such infractions by the magistrate, Tanjir was handed a book to read, apparently as a measure to rectify himself in a more innovative and polite way.And that was not all. It was made clear to him that once he had finished reading the book, he would have to pass an examination to demonstrate what he had learned from his reading, reports BBC Bangla.

"We are reading books as punishment for the wrongs we have committed and so colleagues laugh whenever they see books in our hands. They derive much amusement from that," Tanjir Islam said.A person will come by exemptions only if he qualifies at written and oral tests following a reading of the book slapped on him as punishment.

A person thus penalized will later have to keep a new copy of the book that he has read along with another book in the library.If he commits a similar mistake or wrong in future, he has to read those two books and sit for exams again. The arrangement, named Tukitaki, has been put in place by airport magistrates.

"One has to face exams after reading a book in a maximum of seven days," as Executive Magistrate Mohammad Yusuf put it.In response to a question, Yusuf said, "We are not giving any rebate after the commission of an offence. We rather clamp on the offenders a jail term or fine."

"We have introduced the provision of book reading as a corrective measure when offences are committed by such individuals. Previously we used to let offenders off after giving them a warning," he said.More than 50 employees have come under the provision in less than a month. Though at the beginning of the project two or three employees were seen to be accused of irregularities, the figure has been coming down.

The offences for which such punishments have been prescribed include harassing passengers over getting trolleys for them or collecting money from them, indulging in offensive behavior with passengers, stepping beyond certain boundaries or zones they are not supposed to cross, taking tips from passengers while filling up immigration cards for them and calling out to passengers to money exchanges, etc.

Initially, some books were bought at the magistrates' own initiatives.Later, the library got enriched with books stored by employees as punishment, Yusuf said.On the other hand, employees are rewarded with books for good performance.

-AA Correspondent

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