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Dhaka Tribune

Alleged Basherkella admin arrested

Update : 13 Mar 2015, 08:02 PM

Detectives yesterday claimed that they have arrested the chief editorial administrator of Basherkella – the controversial Facebook page known for promoting Jamaat-e-Islami’s propaganda.

“A team of DB police arrested KM Ziauddin Fahad, who is also the Islami Chhatra Shibir’s chief publicity coordinator, from Comilla Cadet College staff building on Thursday evening and recovered a laptop and two Nokia handsets [from him],” said Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of the Detective Branch of police. 

However, Fahad’s family members contradicted the police claim, saying the 30-year-old was picked up by the police on March 9. The Basherkella page on Facebook also discarded the DB’s statement as a rumour, claiming that all of its administrators were safe.

Addressing a press conference at the DMP media centre yesterday, DB chief Monirul said Fahad had gone into hiding at the house of his sister – an assistant professor at Comilla Cadet College – after finding out that the police were looking for him.

“Our team was waiting in Comilla for a couple of days, and after verifying the location of Fahad – they arrested him,” he said.

The DB chief added that Fahad was operating around 50 other Facebook pages, including “Titumir Basherkella,” “Awami Tribunal,” “Bakshal Nipat Jak,” “I am Bangladeshi,” “Digital Rupe Bakshal,” “BAN Baskhali News-24,” “Islami Online Activist,” “Tarun Projonmo,” “Basherkella USA,” and “Vision 2021.”

During primary interrogation, the detainee confessed to his involvement in managing the Facebook pages, Monirul said.

Using nearly 50 email addresses and Facebook profiles with names such as “Truth Finder” and “Biplob Dahan,” Fahad had been operating Basherkella and the other pages, the DB official said.

There are reportedly 50 Jamaat sympathisers – each with a minimum of five email addresses – who work as co-administrators of these pages.

Fahad was involved in spreading propaganda against the government, the judiciary, the police, the Rapid Action Battalion and other state organs, he added.

However, Fahad’s father -  Khondokar Mohammad Samiuddin – told the Dhaka Tribune that his wife and son were visiting his daughter’s house in Comilla when a DB team detained him on March 9.

Identifying himself as a Freedom Fighter commander, Samiuddin said he was now the chairman of Shadhonpur union of Chittagong’s Bashkhali upazila.

Saying Fahad was a student of law at Chittagong’s Premier University, Samiuddin said: “I have no knowledge about his involvement in such activities [surrounding Basherkella] and I believe he is innocent.”

The Basherkella page, on the other hand, also made a post claiming that Fahad was not it administrator, and termed the whole incident as the government’s attempt to interfere with social media platforms.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Magistrate Mollah Saiful Islam placed Fahad under an eight-day remand in an ICT case yesterday.

The magistrate passed the order when DB Sub-Inspector Mizanur Rahman – the investigation officer of the case – sought a 10-day remand after showing the detainee arrested in a case filed with Pallabi police station. 

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