Jhumon Das, who angered Hifazat supporters with Facebook post, secures one-year bail

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The High Court has granted Jhumon Das, a resident of Sunamganj’s Shalla, for a year in a Digital Security Act case.

But, as part of the decision, he will not be allowed to leave the district without permission from the appropriate court.

The virtual bench of Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam and Justice KM Zahid Sarwar made the decision on Thursday in response to a bail petition.

The bail comes with certain conditions, including surveillance, said lawyer ZI Khan Panna, who represented Das at the hearing. “The court also issued a rule regarding the question of his regular bail.”

On Mar 17, an attack was carried out on about 90 homes of Hindu residents over allegations that they had made an ‘offensive post’ on Hifazat-e Islam leader Mamunul Haque.

Later, a case was filed at Shalla Police Station against Jhumon Das for the Facebook post under the Digital Security Act. Das was arrested and remained in jail for six months over the case.

Jhumon’s petition for bail was rejected by the Sunamganj Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court and his lawyers took the case to the judge’s court. After the judge’s court scrapped his bail petition, his legal team moved the High Court for bail.

“What kind of case is this?” said ZI Khan Panna had said to bdnews24.com after the court heard the bail petition on Monday.

“Instead of pursuing the people a case should have been filed against, they are pursuing charges against Jhumon Das. Jhumon Das’s mother filed a case over the incident, but those arrested in connection with that case are already out on bail.”

“A man has simply expressed his anger. Even the government has expressed its anger at Mamunul Haque’s actions. Many ministers and MPs have expressed their anger. Mamunul Haque’s actions are completely unacceptable. Jhumon Das said that the things Mamunul Haque did are ‘Pakistani activities’. The government has said the same thing. So why is there a case against Jhumon Das?”

The Supreme Court advocate also raised questions about the role of police in Jhumon Das’s arrest.

“The incident occurred on Mar 16,” the lawyer said. According to the seizure list, he was arrested that same day. But police filed the case against him on Mar 22 and brought him to court on Mar 23. “A suspect must be brought to court within 24 hours of arrest. The question is – where did they keep Jhumon Das all this time?”

Since the incident occurred in March, social and cultural organisations have called for Das’s release. Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigoshthi held a nationwide demonstration to call for his release on Sept 8.

The court had heard the petition on Monday and set Thursday for the date of the decision.

Panna was accompanied by Nahid Sultana Juthi and Md Ashraf Ali, while Assistant Attorney General Mizanur Rahman represented the state at the hearing.