Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Government trying to frighten everyone by ‘torturing’ Shahidul Alam: Sultana Kamal

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-08-10 03:04:32 BdST


The government is trying to frighten all by ‘torturing’ photographer-activist Shahidul Alam, who has been arrested in an ICT Act case, human-rights activist Sultana Kamal has alleged.   

She made the scathing remarks at a news briefing at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday, organised by Human Rights Forum Bangladesh demanding release of Shahidul.

The Detective Branch of police arrested Drik Gallery’s Shahidul on Sunday night on charges of attempting to spread ‘fear and panic’ on the internet using ‘fantastical and provocative lies’ during student protests for safe roads.

The law enforcers allegedly tortured him in custody.

“None of those present here won’t speak out anymore if you beat up a person like Shahidul Alam who is internationally acclaimed and also quite famous in the country,” Sultana said.

“Autocracies try to set an example for others by torturing an individual so that no-one can speak out. Then, can we ask whether the rulers of Bangladesh are trying to create a culture of fear? Do they want to frighten the people?” she asked.      

“We want justice. Please free us from the culture of fear,” she added.

She alleged the governments of Bangladesh have made “a monster out of the police force”.

“There will be many reasons to worry about if someone is beaten up for speaking about mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption,” she said, referring to deaths in road traffic accidents.

A former adviser to a caretaker government, Sultana also demanded investigation into attacks on the protesters and journalists during the road safety movement.

Pointing to the mass movements led by the Awami League, she said the government was “not behaving in the manner expected of it”.

“It is with great sadness that we find ourselves asking why we can’t differentiate between their behaviour and that of autocracy,” she said.