Sweety told Prothom Alo over the phone on Friday afternoon, “The child catches cold frequently. Managing his food has become an ordeal, let alone buying medicines.”
She said some people including some human rights activists provide them assistance but it is barely sufficient.
As a result, the family depends on borrowing money.
On 15 March, Hefajat-e-Islam's the then leaders Junaid Babunagari and Mamunul Haque spoke at a rally in Sunamganj’s Derai upazila centering Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit in Bangladesh. Jhumon Das, from Noagaon village under Habibpur union parishad of Shalla upazila, allegedly posted an objectionable Facebook status about Mamunul Haque. People of the village handed Jhumon over to police on 16 March and he was produced before a court on the following day. The court sent him to jail.
Meanwhile, over a hundred people attacked the Hindu community of Noagaon village centering the Facebook post on 17 March. They vandalised around 90 houses and temples of the village and looted the houses.
A case was filed with Shalla police station over the incident of attack on Noagaon village while a case under Digital Security Act was filed against Jhumon Das with the same police station. Sub inspector Md Abdul Karim filed the case against Jhumon.
Jhumon’s wife said, “Those who were arrested for attacking our village were freed but my husband is still languishing in jail.”
Sunamganj’s lawyer Debangshu Shekhar Das is the lawyer of the case filed against Jhumon.
“Jhumon’s bail petition is now awaiting hearing at the High Court. He has the right to get bail even on humanitarian ground. Bail petitions have been submitted on seven occasions to date.”
Lawyer Debangshu Shekhar said accused over vandalism in Hindu community’s houses are on bail but Jhomon is in jail for six months.
Sweety’s life has changed
Sweety got married to Jhumon in May 2018. Sweety’s family could not accept the marriage as the couple had love affairs. Jhumon ran small businesses. Sweety said they were happy despite financial constraints. But things changed after Jhumon landed in jail.
“What is Jhumon’s fault? I cannot understand why he is in jail for six months,” Sweety said.
The family is having immense financial troubles as they have to manage the cost of running the case.
“Even we have to borrow money for the transport cost of going to the court.”
“Dhaka’s eminent lawyer ZI Khan Panna sir told me that he would try to manage the bail of my husband and would not charge any fees. I’m now waiting for his bail. If Jhumon is not freed on bail, then send me and my son to jail too.”
“Although we are not in jail, the whole world seems like jail to me. I want unconditional release of my husband. Some are saying that my husband has been kept inside jail for his own safety. I want to know if we don’t have freedom of movement?”
Sweety said Jhumon borrowed Tk 40,000 for business. They now have to repay Tk 5,000 per month against the loan.
“I’m still hopeful that Jhumon will get justice. Truth will prevail one day,” she added.
Senior lawyer of the Supreme Court ZI Khan Panna told Prothom Alo that he will give legal assistance for Jhumon.
Proper procedure allegedly not followed in filing the case
It has been alleged that proper procedure was not maintained in the case filed under the Digital Security Act against Jhumon Das.
Human rights activist Md Nur Khan told Prothom Alo that a case under DSA is supposed to be filed following primary investigation. Considering factors such as controversy over Mamunul Haque, arrest of Jhumon Das hastily by police, bail of persons arrested over vandalism and denial of bail petition of Jhumon—it seems that the law has been misused in this case. As a result, the natural course of law has been hindered.
Additional inspector general (media) of police Md Kamruzzaman told Prothom Alo, “Not only in Jhumon Das’ case, all rules should be adhered to while filing any case under the Digital Security Act. The court will look into the matter if due procedure is not followed during filing of the case.”
Calls demanding release of Jhumon
Different organisations in Dhaka, Sunamganj and other parts of the country have held various programmes demanding release of Jhumon Das.
Jhumon’s mother Niva Rani Das demanded her son’s release at a press conference organised by Bangaldesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote at Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association (CRAB) auditorium in Dhaka on 23 March.
24 eminent citizens demanded Jhumon’s release on 4 June.
Leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Dhaka University unit demanded Jhumon’s release on 13 September. They threatened to launch a movement if Jhomon is not freed.
Former advisor to a caretaker government and rights activist Sultana Kamal wrote an article in Prothom Alo about Jhumon’s release.
Several programmes were arranged at the city’s Shahbagh area to press home the demand.
Jhumon’s elder brother Nupur Das said, “Jhumon’s wife and son are staying at our house. We all are living in fear. Many including government officials helped us at the beginning but the assistance is being dried out gradually. We want the immediate release of Jhumon.”