After 106 days of disappearance and 52 days in police custody, he is scheduled to be shown arrested on June 26
A joint statement was issued by 72 writers, artists and cultural activists demanding the safe return of Shafiqul Islam Kajol to his family.
Kajol went missing on March 10.
His family started searching for him but to no avail. Finally after 53 days, on May 3, he was found “roaming around” 300 kilometres away from Dhaka, at the Benapole border.
Those who have never lost someone will not be able to fathom the relief of finding your loved ones like this, said the statementThe press release read: “We hoped that the suffering of journalist Kajol's family would be lessened and peace would return to the family after getting Kajal back.
“However, we were disappointed when we saw that instead of returning to his family and his career, he was arrested for infiltration. There has been another general diary against him.”
There were three separate cases against journalist Kajol in three police stations of Dhaka Metropolitan Police under the Digital Security Act.
He could not even apply for bail as he had not been arrested for so long.
“We call on the government to release Kajol unconditionally. We all demand that this man, along with all the other detainees, be handed over to their family, keeping in mind the health safety during this disaster,” said the media release.
“Despite the fact that freedom of expression is a constitutional right, a photographer has to live a life of imprisonment for the ‘crime’ of expression, which is a concern for each of us as citizens,” read the press release.
According to media reports, after 106 days of disappearance and 52 days in police custody, he is scheduled to be shown arrested on June 26, along with a 10-day remand application.
It added: “We think that by capturing Kajol, the environment for expressing democratic views has been severely hampered. Such unjust practices continue only amid a culture of impunity and fear.”
It added: “We are all with our families during this coronavirus crisis situation; but many like Kajol are imprisoned by the state only for the crime of writing, for the crime of taking pictures, for the crime of drawing, for the crime of thinking, for the crime of providing news.”
The 72 writers, artists and cultural activists demand his unconditional release saying: “We call on the government to release the handcuffs on thinking. We all pray for journalist Kajol’s return to his working life, his family, his family members and to return to their peaceful life.”
Among them are Filmmaker Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, Chairperson of Britto Arts Trust Khushi Kabir, Professor of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University, Manosh Chowdhury, Artist Tayeba Begum Lipi, Photojournalist Shahidul Alam, Singer and performer Elita Karim, Director of Shadhona - A Center For Advancement Of Southasian Culture Lubna Marium, Curator Tanjim Wahab, Photographer and Teacher Munem Wasif, Artist Reetu Sattar, Writer Zakir Talukder, Visual Artist Kamruzzaman Shadhin, Curator at DRIK ASM Rezaur Rahman, Journalist Milton Anwar, Writer and Director Ashfaque Nipun, Actor Shakhawat Hossain, Writer and Activist Baki Billah, and Journalist Shammi Hauque.