Police on Friday arrested three journalists in a lawsuit filed under the Digital Security Act from different areas in Narsingdi.
Earlier on Thursday night, the in-charge of Ghorashal police outpost in Palash upazila Zahirul Alam filed the case on allegations of quoting him in a report without talking to him and posting the report on Facebook.
The three newsmen are – local daily Grameen Darpan’s news editor Ramzan Ali Pramanik, 45, staff reporter Shanta Banik, 35 and online news portal Narsingdi Pratidin’s publisher and editor Khandaker Shahin, 32.
Ramzan Ali was arrested from his residence in Narsingdi town, Shanta Banik from his home in Manohardi and Khandaker Shahin from his Madhabdi residence.
The deceased’s relatives claim members of Ghorashal police outpost beat him to death, accusing him of theft as he went out with the auto-rickshaw amid the lockdown.
Narsingdi police spokesperson and DB inspector Rupam Kumar Sarker said Dainik Grameen Darpan and Narsingdi Pratidin news portals published two reports, ‘Police beat youth dead on allegations of theft’ and ‘Police allegedly beat man to death in Ghorashal police outpost’.
Both the reports quoted Ghorashal police outpost in-charge Zahirul Islam but he did not talk to those newsmen, in person or over phone, claimed Rupam Kumar Sarker.
The DB inspector also said Zahirul filed the suit under Digital Security Act for the sake of his self-respect as senior police officials were displeased about the matter.
On 29 April afternoon, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver Mannan, 40, died after returning from police custody at Ghorashal, Palash of Narsingdi.
The deceased’s relatives claim members of Ghorashal police outpost beat him to death, accusing him of theft as he went out with the auto-rickshaw amid the lockdown. The relatives and local auto-rickshaw drivers staged demonstrations.
Police said Mannan had heart ailments. They released him just after detention. He had fallen sick after going to Dakkhin Kholapara in Gazipur with passengers. Police also said they got the news of Mannan’s death in the evening.
Prothom Alo phoned the plaintiff Ghorashal police outpost in-charge Zahirul Islam several times but could not talk to him.
Investigation officer (IO) of the case Palash police station inspector (investigation) Humayun Kabir said Zahirul Islam filed the suit against the three as the newsmen published quotes without even talking to him.
The accused were arrested and sent to jail through court as the primary investigation revealed the incident true, he added.