A Kushtia court has granted bail to Bishwanath Saha Bishu, one of the owners of Kheya Hotel accused of harassing a US photojournalist in a drunken state on March 6.
Chief Judicial Magistrate SM Mesbahul Haque Thursday afternoon accepted his bail plea, submitted for the third time since his arrest on March 13, amid secrecy.
Court sources say Bishu, also an influential former ward councillor, got in a car immediately after coming out of the court and headed for Dhaka.
Earlier in the day Kushtia model police station OC Shahabuddin Chowdhury, who investigated the complaint filed by freelance photojournalist Allison Joyce on March 9, submitted police report urging the court to relive the accused from Section 54 of the CrPc.
Reporters learnt about the bail in the night.
Also Read- US photojournalist's harrowing night in Kushtia
On the other hand, charges pressed under Section 506 of the Penal Code reached the court Thursday. The provision deals with offences linked to criminal intimidation.
Public prosecutor of the Judge’s Court Akhtaruzzaman Masum said that the police had filed the report in line with the law which stipulates that a report has to be submitted to the court within 30 days after the arrest of someone under Section 54.
Allison has expressed grievances after learning about the bail order. Her family members and friends have also condemned the court order on Facebook, and demanded harsh punishment of the culprit as per the law.
[caption id="attachment_52179" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The email Allison Joyce sent to Kushtia Sadar OC and a local Awami League leader on March 9. It was accepted by the deputy commissioner and the police superintendent on Sunday
The same court had ordered investigation into the incident that created massive uproar in the town as well as on social media.
She termed the incidents of that night a nightmare and shared the experiences on her Facebook, prompting some rights activists and journalists to raise the issue and demand justice.
In her complaint, Allison said that around 1am on March 6, the accused had been drunk and tried to gain access to her room, hurled abuses and called on her phone repeatedly for half an hour.
She left the hotel after her local friend who used to work with her for a story in the district came to her aide. Another hotel, Rose View, refused to offer her a room as she was a woman.
Also Read- Kushtia hotelier’s bail plea rejected
Bishu later claimed that he had knocked the door to enquire about her discomfort caused due to a sound system near her room.
In a letter to Allison, Manager Md Saidul Bari on March 13 said that the situation had occurred due to a misunderstanding and that it was not intentional.
Boston-born photojournalist Allison told the Dhaka Tribune that she had gone to Kushtia to cover a story on child marriage and checked in to the Kheya Hotel around 4pm on March 5.
Her “nightmare” experience started when she was woken around 12:30am because the proprietor, Bishwanath, and his staff were being loud in the hallway outside her room.
“I went out to tell them to be quiet, but Saha [Bishwanath Saha Bishu] came and stood in my doorway, preventing me from closing the door. He was drunk and rambling incoherently, telling me not to shout in the hallway,” Allison told the Dhaka Tribune.