Protesters in different parts of the country took to the streets on Saturday demanding withdrawal of cases filed against Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and staff correspondent Samsuzzaman Shams. The demonstrators also demanded unconditional release of arrested reporter Shams and repeal of Digital Security Act.
‘We’re all culpable in the same crime’
Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BASAD) arranged a protest rally in front of Ashwinikumar Hall in Barishal on Saturday. People from different walks of life also joined the rally organized by BASAD Barishal district unit.
If seeking independence to get fish-meat-rice is crime, then we all are culpable in the same crime. Arrest 160 million people for this crimeManisha Chakrabarti, Member secretary, BASAD Barishal unit
Presiding over the rally, BASAD district unit’s member secretary Manisha Chakrabarti said, “If seeking independence to get fish-meat-rice is crime, then we all are culpable in the same crime. Arrest 160 million people for this crime.”
Manisha said prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed due to unbridled corruption of the ruling party.
“Their image did not get tarnished when the economy of the country was destroyed by looting and money laundering, when Jesmin Akter died in RAB custody,” Manisha said.
She also asked if the country’s was not tarnished when election was conducted ‘the night before’ and without the presence of voters.
The demonstrators sought a judicial probe committee over the death of Jesmine Akter in Noagaon while in RAB custody, immediate repeal of Digital Security Act, dropping of cases against Prothom Alo editor and release of Shams.
The demonstrators later brought out a procession that paraded different streets of the city.
Protests wearing black masks
BASAD Dinajpur unit and Zela Sachetan Samaj hold a human chain wearing black masks in front of Dinajpur Press Club.
BASAD’s district unit convener Kibria Hossain said the government has become increasingly authoritarian due to its stay in power for a long time. A culture of fear has been pervasive in the country and those who speak up against wrongdoings are harassed under Digital Security Act. It is high time these wrongdoings are protested.
Human chain in Nilpharamari
A human chain was organised under the banner of concerned citizens at Chawrangee Morh in Nilphamari town at around 12 in the noon today.
Nilphamari Shilpa O Banik Samity’s former president Abdul Wahed Sarker, Nilphamari Press Club president Tahmin Haque, secretary Hasan Rabbi Pradhan, among others, spoke at the event.
The speakers demanded dropping of case against Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and reporter Shams and annulment of Digital Security Act.
Human chain in Patuakhali
Patuakhali Press Club and Prothom Alo Bondhusava organised a human chain in the press club premises protesting at the case filed against Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and journalist Shams.
Presiding over the event, Press Club president Swapan Banerjee said DSA is being used to muzzle the press repeatedly. This controversial act must immediately be repealed.
Poet Suvash Chanda said the way a jouranalist was picked up in the night is unfortunate. DSA should be annulled to ensure conducive environment for journalism.
“Effort to muzzle press”
In Tangail, members of Sakhipur Press Club hold a human chain in upazila parishad road.
Presided over by Sakhipur Press Club’s president Iqbal Gafur, former president Shakil Anwar, former secretary Enamul Haque, current secretary Sajjat Latif and vice president Taibur Rahman, among others, spoke at the human chain.
The speakers said an effort is on to stifle the media using the DSA.
Annul DSA, ensure freedom of speech
Journalists and people from different sectors in Brahmanbaria demanded immediate annulment of the DSA to ensure freedom of speech.
The human chain was held in front of Brahmanbaria Press Club.
Presided over by Press Club’s acting president Jasim Uddin, Bangladesh Communist Party’s district unit’s secretary Sajidul Islam, Workers Party member Nazrul Islam, district Jobo Moitree convener Nasir Mia, Brahmanbaria press club’s vice president Niaz Mohammad Khan, Sarail Press Club secretary Mahbub Khan, Akhaura upazila Press Club president Rubel Ahmed, journalists Jabed Rahim, Abdun Nur, Al Amin Shahin, Shihab Uddin, Mosharraf Hossain, Mofizur Rahman, college teacher Avijit Roy, district Chhatra Moitry president Fahim Muntasir, Prothom Alo Bondhusava members, among others, spoke at the human chain.
Speakers said the way Shams was picked up is deplorable. The DSA has spawned many questions since it came into effect. This black law has been made to intimidate people and muzzle the press. The latest example is filing of cases against Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and journalist Shams.
The speakers demand withdrawal of the case against Matiur Rahman, annulment of DSA and release of journalist Shams.
Country’s image being tarnished by repressing journalists
Patuakhali’s Bauphal Press Club organized a human chain and protest rally demanding withdrawal of cases filed against journalists under DSA and annulment of DSA. The hour long human chain was held in front of Bauphal Press Club.
Speakers said DSA is a black law and an impediment to good and independent journalism. The law is a threat for freedom of speech and against democratic values. The country’s image is being tarnished by using this act.
The speakers demanded immediate release of journalist Shams, withdrawal of DSA cases against Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and Dainik Jugantor’s special reporter Mahbub Alam.
Bauphal Press Club president Amirul Islam, secretary Arefin Shahid, journalist Kamruzzaman Bacchu, upazila BNP’s joint convener Samuyer Ahmed, among others, spoke at the event.
(This report was prepared based on input from Prothom Alo staff correspondents of Barishal and Brahmanbaria; correspondents of Dinajpur, Nilphamari, Patuakhali, Tangail’s Sakhipur and Patuakhali’s Bauphal)