Rabiul Islam, an accused in a case of murdering a police official, has now become a big jeweler in Dubai, adopting the alias Arav Khan. While his meteoric rise to fortune has been the talk of the country right now, Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul said name of a former police high official is appearing in the Arav Khan issue. But none can actually utter the name of the former police official out of fear.

Asif Nazrul says this testifies the state of freedom of speech in Bangladesh right now.

We hear the name of a former police official but can’t utter his name in public. We all know the name but can’t speak of him—is this the freedom of speech enshrined in our constitution?
Asif Nazrul

Speaking at a discussion in National Press Club today, Asif Nazrul said, “While the number of beggars is increasing every day in the country, a son of a day labourer had a logo made of gold. And he made that fortune in just 4 to 5 years. Such was the plundering. Was this really his money? We hear the name of a former police official but can’t utter his name in public. We all know the name but can’t speak of him—is this the freedom of speech enshrined in our constitution?”

Arav Jewelers was inaugurated in the Gold Souk in Dubai with much pomp and fanfare on Wednesday night. Several film and sports stars of Bangladesh took part in the inaugural ceremony. According to intelligence agencies, Rabiul Islam from Gopalganj’s Kotalipara adopted the alias Arav Khan. He also goes by the aliases Sohagh Mollah, Hridoy Sheikh and Apon. Rabiul fled the country after being one of the accused in a case filed over the murder of police inspector Mamun Imran Khan. The police inspector was killed in Dhaka on 7 July 2018. Detective Branch of police said Rabiul Islam first fled to India and took an Indian passport in the name Arav Khan. Later he moved to Dubai from India and became a big jeweler there.

During his speech at a seminar styled ‘Bringing back people’s confidence on the constitution’ organised by The Center for Peace and Development Studies (CPDS), Asif Nazrul said, “Did not we chant slogan about skinning Ershad during the Ershad regime? Were not slogans of skinning Khaleda Zia chanted during  Khaleda Zia’s term? Now chant slogan of skinning even a police commissioner, let alone the prime minister, and see what happens next.”  

The DU professor said in was stated in the declaration of independence that this country emerged due to depriving people of their voting rights. The main essence of the constitution of 1972 is the power would be vested in true representatives of the people and the election would be fair.

The independence was not attained to appease the corrupt, harbour discrimination, loot the banks, launder the country’s money and kill the citizens extrajudicially, he added.

Legal expert Iktedar Ahmed said the parties in power always cared little about what is in the constitution. He said the constitution of Bangladesh mandates that the representatives should be elected by direct votes but asked if all members of the tenth parliament were elected with direct vote.

Former ambassador Sakib Ali and Patuakhali Science and Technology University’s former vice chancellor Abdul Latif spoke at the seminar presided over by CPDS president Mostafa Kamal Mazumder and conducted by the organisation’s executive president Jahangir Chowdhury.