By- Siam Sarower Jamil
Dhaka, Aug 12,
Activist of different political parties & organizations on Saturday demanded immediate and unconditional release of Shahidul Alam, an internationally acclaimed photographer and social activist, picked up from his home by detectives Sunday (5 Aug) night. Nineteen civil society groups call for Shahidul Alam’s immediate release too in a joint statement.
Speaking at the demonstration in front of National Press Club, Dhaka after noon, complained ‘We demand immediate and unconditional release of Shahidul,’ said writer & Professor Rahnuma Ahmed, wife of Shahidul.
Shahidul, founder of Drik and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was picked up amid ongoing protests by students for safer roads. Shahidul went live on Facebook discussing the protests and was also interviewed by Doha-based Al Jazeera on the issue.
‘In the television interview, Shahidul offered his analysis of the situation in Bangladesh which should in no way be the reason to treat a person of his stature this way,’ said Shirin Haque, a colleague of Shahidul.
Shahidul’s lawyer Barister Sara Hossain said ‘The way law enforcers are behaving goes against constitution and guidelines issued by the High Court on how law enforcers should act while detaining an individual,’
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) president Mujahidul Islam Selim said the students had proven that the anarchy prevailing in the transport sector should not continue any longer. With empty promises to calm down the previous student movement this year, the government had completely lost people’s trust, he said.
He alleged that the law enforcers were overstepping laws to crackdown on people, including children, who may have supported the ongoing student movement. ‘It won’t help the country anyway,’ said Selim.
Anu Muhammad, Social Activist & professor of Jahangirnagar University said that it seemed the government was in a war against its own citizens. ‘The government is afraid of its citizens,’ said Anu.
‘It is afraid of its labours, its political opponents and even of children protesting at deaths of their friends,’ said Anu.
Tanjim Uddin Khan, Professor of Dhaka University said, “The use of laws such as the ICT Act in Bangladesh to legally harass journalists and media workers and violate the right to freedom of expression, and call for its urgent repeal,”
Meanwhile, Nineteen civil society groups have released a joint statement calling for the immediate release of Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam and for the charges against him to be dropped today.
The joint statement, signed by organisations such as the Ain o Salish Kendra and Transparency International, Bangladesh, says Alam has been denied access to his lawyers, was reportedly beaten and is in poor health.
“We, the undersigned civil society organisations, call for Shahidul Alam’s immediate and unconditional release, that all allegations against him be dropped, and that he receive proper medical care,” the statement said.