Khadija's mother asks, won't my daughter be able to return to normal life?

Jagannath University student Khadijatul Kubra

Khadijatul Kubra is now known is prison as a 'writer'. She assists the prison guards in various tasks, especially recording the meeting times of relatives with prisoners, schedules for these meetings and so on. She has also been learning how to sew. Apart from this, she is also reaching illiterate prisoners how to write their names. All this was revealed while talking to prison officials about Khadija.

Khadija has beautiful handwriting so she does a lot of documents recording. The prison sources said she also likes such tasks.

Khadija has been staying in Room 203 of the Kalmilata building of Gazipur’s Kashimpur Women’s Central Jail. Another 22 inmates live with her in the  jam-packed room.

Khadijatul Kubra was arrested on 27 August 2022 in a case filed under the Digital Security Act. At that time she was studying in the second year of the political science department at Jagannath University. She has not been granted bail in the last one year.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan spoke to Prothom Alo on Sunday night about Khadija's arrest and imprisonment for a year. He said, “I will talk to the law minister about the matter.”

Prison sources said, on Sunday morning Khadija told the prison guards that the day was a special day for her. She said the same to her fellow inmates. Many thought it was her birthday. But Khadija with a grim face told them the day marked the one-year anniversary of her arrival in the Kashimpur Jail.

According to prison sources and her relatives who have met her, Khadija likes to talk to other inmates, and is upset if anyone doesn’t talk to her. But sometimes she gets depressed. She is worried about whether she will be able to continue her studies even if she ever gets out of prison, whether her friends will treat her the same as before, whether the university authorities will help her and so on. She often gets anxious about why she is not granted bail. She often thinks about her mother, sister and friends.  

A senior official of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail said Khadija talks about her mother all day. Khadija also told them the story that even though she was admitted to university, her mother would sometimes feed her herself, wash her clothes. Now she has learned to do everything by herself.

The official said that Khadija's younger sister comes to visit her the most. Prisoners get a chance meet their relatives every 15 days in jail. And one day a week they may talk to relatives on the phone for 10 minutes.

On the question of Khadija's state in prison, Farhana Akhter of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail district told Prothom Alo on the phone Sunday night, "Prison is a prison after all. But the girl is very talented. She tries to keep herself busy and spends time studying. She sews her own clothes. She records the details of the prisoners.”

Prison sources say, on 20 March the prison authorities filed a complaint against Khadija. Earlier on 14 March, she was sent to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for a health checkup. But due to her non-cooperation some health tests were not possible, the jail authorities said. For that, it was decided to keep her in jail for seven days.

Whether Khadija was ever kept in a cell for notorious criminals, jailer Farhana Akhter said, “That was a long time ago, because she provided confusing information. But it was not a condemned cell, it was a normal cell.”

Ever since Khadija's arrest, her younger sister Sirazum Munira sometimes goes to the police station, sometimes to the lawyer, along with her mother Fatema Khatun. Now the court premises and the prison gate have become her regular haunts. Khadija's father lives abroad.

 Sirajum Munira told Prothom Alo, "Every time I meet my sister, she asks me when she will get bail?" She wants to study again at the table. She wants to return to her normal life and finish her studies.

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Khadija last spoke to her mother Fatema Khatun on the phone from prison on 21 August. She informed her mother about her kidney problem.

Fatema Khatun told Prothom Alo on Sunday night, "Our family has two daughters and one son. Khadija was very focused on her studies. This girl has been kept in jail for a year. There is no bail. She only cries when I talk to her. Will my daughter not be able to return to normal life?”

Urging the government to release Khadija, Fatima Khatun said, "Let my daughter be given a chance to return to normal life. Let both cases be withdrawn. I want justice.”


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