Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday categorically said Baul singer Shariat Sarkar was arrested for his involvement in any crime or any crime was committed whereby he was arrested.
“As he was arrested, surely he is involved in any crime or he was arrested as a crime was committed,” she said while responding to a supplementary question from Jasod leader Hasanul Huq Inu during the PM’s question-answer session in parliament.
The prime minister said there is no fault in Baul songs. “The law will take its own course if anyone who sings Baul songs or any individual gets involved in any crime. The law will take its actions. It has no relation with the songs,” she said.
She wanted to know from Inu whether Baul singers are above the law or whether they never committed any crime.
Sheikh Hasina, also the leader of the house, advised Baul singers not to do anything that put Baul songs, which takes a place in the world heritage, under question. “They mustn’t do such activities. We’ve to remain aware about it. They also have to remain cautious,” she said.
Inu also mentioned about the assault on Baul singer Shamsel Haque Chisti, better known as Chisti Baul, in Brahmanbaria in 2018 over a song he performed at the development fair.
In this regard, the prime minister said if anyone commits any crime, the government will surely take punitive actions against the culprit. “Cutting off hair or creating obstacles to performing songs for no reason is not acceptable at all,” she said.
Responding to a question from ruling party MP Mahfuzur Rahman, she said the Awami League government is committed to establishing the rule of law. “The government has taken programmes to establish the rule of law through appropriate reforms of the laws and their execution for providing security to people’s lives and property,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the main aim of the government is to ensure the rule of law, basic rights and justice by establishing an exploitation-free just society. “We’re working tirelessly to establish an independent, neutral and modern judiciary,” she said.
She said the Awami League government had been able to make people understand that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law and no criminal will be able get away after committing any crime.
The prime minister mentioned that the culture of impunity started in the country after the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members.
Police arrested Shariat Sarkar on 11 January in a case filed under the Digital Security Act for allegedly making comments that hurt the “religious sentiment” of Muslims.
During a concert in Dhamrai of Dhaka on 24 December last, he allegedly criticised religious Muslim clerics who oppose singing and had challenged anyone who can prove that music is forbidden under Islamic scripture.
Mohammad Faridul Islam filed the case with Mirzapur police station in Tangail on 9 January, accusing Shariat of making comments during a performance that hurt his “religious sentiment”.
Later, the baul singer was put on a three-day remand by a court.