আজ ১১ই ফাল্গুন, ১৪৩০ বঙ্গাব্দ, ২৪শে ফেব্রুয়ারি, ২০২৪ খ্রিস্টাব্দ

সময় : রাত ৯:১৫

বার : শনিবার

ঋতু : বসন্তকাল

Elderly Woman Arrested in Bangladesh After Son’s Facebook Post

Elderly Woman Arrested in Bangladesh After Son’s Facebook Post

Photo courtesy of Tanzilur Rahman’s Facebook account and Khulna Metropolitan Police’s Fac

Photo courtesy of Tanzilur Rahman’s Facebook account and Khulna Metropolitan Police’s Fac

ENGR MHABUB AHMED

In a concerning turn of events on Sunday afternoon, 20 August 2023, Bangladeshi police snatched a 60-year-old woman, Anisa Siddika, from her residence in the Khulna district. The incident has again raised concerns about the country’s freedom of expression and government tactics.

 

Taken away without any warrant or specific charges, authorities later invoked the Special Powers Act to formally detain her the following day. BD police officials claimed that the elderly lady had been participating in a covert meeting in her residence to plan sabotage and conspire against the state.

Contrasting accounts of the incident have emerged, with Siddika’s son, Tanzilur Rahman, providing an entirely different perspective through his social media account. Rahman, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan State University in the USA, has shed light on the events surrounding his mother’s arrest.

According to Rahman, his recent Facebook post about Sukharanjan Bali was widely spread after the death of Mawlana Delawar Hossain Sayeedi, an imprisoned opposition leader. This has caused the attack on his home and the arrest of his mother, including two neighbors.

Syeedi was prosecuted in a Kangaroo tribunal. Bali, a prosecution witness, retracted his statement asserting that Sayeedi was not responsible for his brother’s death during the 1971 war.

This reversal led to Bali’s abduction by Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies while at the courthouse, marking a disturbing occurrence of enforced disappearance – a practice alarmingly prevalent within the Bangladeshi government. After a lengthy period of uncertainty, Bali was eventually discovered in an Indian prison, where he had spent five years on charges of illegal entry into India.

Mawlana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi passed away in prison on 14 August 2023 under circumstances shrouded in mystery. Speculation regarding his suspicious demise amidst the ongoing political turmoil gained traction. Amid these circumstances, Tanzilur Rahman took to Facebook to express his admiration for Sukharanjan Bali’s unwavering commitment to justice and truth.

Rahman wrote that Bali, a modest Hindu individual of limited education, demonstrated remarkable courage by publicly attending Sayeedi’s funeral and proclaiming the innocence of the deceased in his brother’s murder.

In a disturbing turn of events, just a day after Tanzilur Rahman’s Facebook post gained traction, members of the local Jubo League – a youth faction of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) party – targeted his residence.

As Rahman’s elderly mother protested this assault, Jubo League members called local police and ordered them to arrest her. Additionally, two young neighbors, Rakibul Islam (24 years old) and Tamim Iqbal (19 years old), who came forward trying to explain the situation to the police, were also detained.

All three were taken to the local police station. The next day they were shown as arrested and formally charged with conspiracy against the state and planning sabotage under the draconian Special Powers Act. Local police also published their mugshots on their Facebook page with some books, passports, and mobile phones in front of them as confiscated evidence.

This incident is consistent with a decade-long trend wherein Bangladeshi police have been resorting to tactics of intimidation, particularly against those expressing dissenting views from abroad, by arresting and harassing family members inside the country. Another recent and similar instance involved the arrest of Kanak Sarwar’s younger sister, linked to the outspoken and prominent Bangladeshi journalist living in exile.

Many social media users have drawn comparisons between Sheikh Hasina, the Bangladeshi despot ruler, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, citing uncanny similarities in their intimidation strategies. As public outcry intensifies, concerns over the erosion of civil liberties and free expression in Bangladesh continue to mount. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the broader challenges facing the nation’s democratic landscape.

 

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