Advocate Zulfikar Ali Zunu said 17 other people may file cases against human rights activist and lawyer Sultana Kamal for hurting their religious sentiments over a comment she made on a talk show.
The Supreme Court lawyer himself served a legal notice on Sunday, seeking Sultana Kamal's arrest within a week, almost a month after the talk show had been aired, saying: “I am acting on behalf of the millions of Muslims in Bangladesh as their religious sentiments were hurt by the human rights activist.”
Under Section 295A of Bangladesh's Penal Code (1860), any person who has a "deliberate" or "malicious" intention of "hurting religious sentiments" is liable to imprisonment.
Lawyer Zunu said he did not watch the talk show when it aired but came to know of Sultana Kamal's comments on Facebook and from other TV shows.
When he was asked why it took him so long to serve a legal notice, he said: “We had to collect footage of the talk show that took some time.
“After watching it, her comments hurt my religious sentiments. If the court allows me to file the case, I will press charges. Otherwise I will find an alternative method to make my voice heard.”
When asked what legal grounds he was citing in the case he is about to file, the Supreme Court lawyer said: “It is impossible to say that now.”
On June 6, Zunu also served a legal notice on the police chief and the home secretary, demanding the arrest of Brac University professor and journalist Afsan Chowdhury for his Facebook post on Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha.
According to the notice, Afsan posted false and slanderous comments on Facebook about the Chief Justice, the judiciary and several prominent individuals, and misleading comments about Hefazat-e-Islam, which is a punishable offence under the ICT Act.
The comment in question was made on a talk show titled “Jonotontro Gonotontro” on the private news channel News 24 during a discussion on the removal of Lady Justice from the Supreme Court premises on May 26.
The show invited Sultana Kamal, Awami League MP Apu Ukil, Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarker and Hefazat-e-Islam representative Mufti Sakhawat Hossain to speak.
During an exchange between Sultana Kamal and Mufti Sakhawat Hossain, Sultana had replied to his comment that Lady Justice was a Greek idol of worship and no religious symbol should be present at the Supreme Court. Sultana Kamal replied that by his logic no mosques should be there either.
This prompted Hefazat-e-Islam to demand her arrest with 24 hours of that show and the radical Islamist group threatened her with breaking every bone in her body if she left her house.