Nerdy Bean Coffee Haus owner was not represented by lawyer during court hearing
A Dhaka court has granted police three days to interrogate a Dhanmondi coffee house entrepreneur arrested for allegedly inciting recent student protests by spreading rumours on social media.
Nerdy Bean Coffee Haus owner Faria Mahjabin, 28, was detained at her home on Haji Afsar Uddin Road in west Dhanmondi on Thursday night by officers from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
“Faria had allegedly tried to create disorder by spreading rumours on social media during the recent student movement demanding safer roads,” RAB 2 Commanding Officer Anwar Uz Zaman said.
According to a RAB press release issued on Friday, Faria confessed during primary interrogation to posting fabricated status updates and audio clips on Facebook.
This, the release said, was in intended to divert the student movement and deteriorate law and order in the country even after the government agreed to meet the demonstrators’ demands.
At around 11am on Friday, Faria was handed over to Hazaribagh police station, where the ICT case was filed against her. Another person was also accused, but was shown fugitive.
Later in the afternoon, case investigation officer Sub-Inspector Majedur Rahman produced Faria before the court. According to court officials, she was not represented by a lawyer during the proceedings.
After hearing the remand plea from police investigating the case, Metropolitan Magistrate AKM Mainuddin passed the order granting police the extra three days.
The countrywide student movement for road safety began when two college students were killed by a speeding bus on Airport Road on July 29. Outraged students of different educational institutions continued their mostly peaceful protests for a week.
However, violence marred the demonstrations on August 4 and 5 in Dhanmondi area when police and alleged activists of ruling party affiliate organizations clashed with the students.
Adding fuel to the fire was the circulation online of rumours, claims, and counterclaims regarding the student movement. In total, six people were detained from different parts of Dhaka city during the first week of August for spreading rumours on social media.
A total of 22 private university students were also remanded in police custody in two separate cases filed over charges including obstruction to police duty and vandalism. Their bail pleas were rejected several times.
Leaders of ruling Awami League have been claiming that some quarters were plotting to use the student movement to oust the incumbent government.
So far, nine cases under the ICT Act have been filed at different police stations of the city for spreading rumours on social media and instigating violence during the movement.
Around 30 people, including veteran photographer Shahidul Alam, actor Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed and quota reform movement leaders, have been accused and many of them already arrested in the cases.