SPECIALCops tell blogger Asif to stop writing

  • Published: 2011-10-03 21:58:23 BdST


Police have allegedly threatened blogger Asif Mohiuddin, arrested during the Jagannath University protests, to stop writing.

Ahmed Muniruddin Tapu

Dhaka, Oct 3 (bdnews24.com) — Police have allegedly threatened blogger Asif Mohiuddin, arrested during the Jagannath University protests, to stop writing.

Detective Branch of police released the 28-year-old after 18 hours of detainment on Sunday.

Asif alleged to bdnews24.com that he had been blindfolded, starved and thirsted, kept awake.

ASP Rafiqul Islam had reportedly told him: "Don't write. You have a job, get married. No one's ever achieved anything by writing."

The policeman alleged that Asif's writing had inspired Jagannath University protesters and asked him to stop writing in blogs and Facebook.

"Freedom of speech, ethics — these things make no sense in life," Asif quoted the ASP as telling him.

The students have been protesting since their semester fees grew five times, in accordance with a law that the university will have to self-finance its operations. The Jagannath College, founded in 1884, was upgraded to a university in 2005.

Two days of violent street demonstrations and vandalism on the campus ensued before public university was shut down indefinitely on Wednesday.

The ASP at first denied any comments to bdnews24.com. When asked why he had issued such advice to the blogger, he replied, "Well, it was good advice. I told him to stop offensive writing."

Asif said he was asked to sign a bond saying, 'I will not write anything in blog, Facebook or other social networking sites.'

After much debate, he escaped with a bond saying 'I will not call rallies online on the Jagannath University movement issue in blogs or Facebook.'

Asif said the detective had told him that the state he lived in had no ethics. "The state will see whether you are on its side or against it. If you're against it, you'll be struck down," he had said, according to Asif.

Another official, who did not identify himself, interrogated Asif from 12am to 3am while he was blindfolded. Among other things he was asked whether he eats pork, says prayers, celebrates Eid or goes to Puja.

He was also asked whether leftist political parties had paid him to create public opinion in support of Jagannath University movement.

He was shown a document and told it was a DGFI (military intelligence) report that said his writings could create anti-state sentiment among the youth.

Asif wrote for organising a rally on Sep 30 at Shahbagh to support Jagannath University protesters' demands.

One of his posts was published in the popular Bangla blogging site somewhereinblog.net and later in Unmochon and amarblog. The post was shared numerous times on Facebook.

Police told Asif they had traced him from Facebook groups of the protesters.

On Sep 29, police visited Asif's home but did not find him. They went again next morning and left a number.

Asif went to the Detective Branch head office at Minto Road on Oct 1 evening. He was asked to show all his blog IDs and Facebook ID. Printouts were taken out of all the posts, including recent Facebook posts.

His cell phone was also seized.

Asif told bdnews24.com he had sympathised with the JnU movements from his own life experience. Coming from a middle-income family, Asif had had a hard time bearing the expenses of a private university, not having secured an admission into a public university.

Asif, a popular blogger, studied at Dhaka College and then American International University of Bangladesh. He now works at an IT firm.