Family members allege police have been uncooperative
Family members and friends of celebrated photographer, Shahidul Alam, who was picked up from his Dhanmondi residence on Sunday night, has urged the government to return him unharmed.
They also claimed that they had not been informed the by law enforcement agencies why Shahidul, the founder of Drik and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was taken to the office of Detective Branch of police for interrogation.
The family held a press conference at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhanmondi 26 on Monday.
Shahidul was detained from his home by the Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Sunday night. A complaint has been filed over the matter, the family said.
Shahidul’s partner Rehnuma Ahmed said the police were uncooperative when contacted soon after the incident.
“Even the duty officer at Dhanmondi police station registered our first information report after repeated requests,” she said.
Those picking up Shahidul identified themselves as DB members while leaving the spot, she said, adding that they first came to know from an online news portal that her husband was taken into DB’s custody.
According to Shahidul’s family members, around 35 people in plainclothes came in three microbuses to detain Shahidul.
She also expressed her disappointment over vandalism of Shahidul’s camera at Science Laboratory area on Saturday.
After they left the house, its guards were found with hands fastened, and the CCTV camera taped up, Rehnuma further said.
Supreme Court lawyer Sara Hossain said the DB, when contacted, too, declined to say why he was detained.
Sara said the sections 33 and 43 of the constitution were clearly violated by this forced detention of Shahidul.
Rights activist Khushi Kabir said the detention of Shahidul is a threat to all citizens of the country.
Shirin Haque, a Drik trustee, claimed that Shahidul was picked up for giving an interview to Al Jazeera.
“Everybody has the right to express their views. Was it a crime for Shahidul to make his own analysis on a TV channel?” questioned Shirin, who demanded Shahidul to be returned safely.
Prof Anu Muhammad criticized the government, saying: “Such a trend of people being picked up by law enforcers has been going on for the last few years.”
He asked why police would tie up the guards and tape up the CCTV camera.
“Why do the lawmen have to detain someone without identifying themselves properly?” he asked.