They also demanded immediate release of Drik gallery Managing Director and photographer Shahidul Alam and actress Nawshaba Ahmed
Concerned citizens and quota reformists have demanded the release of students who have been detained in connection to student movements for quota reform and road safety before Eid-ul-Azha.
The demand came from a press conference organized by quota reform activists at Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh in the city.
Lutfunnahar Luma, an undergraduate student of Eden College, also joint convener of the quota reform movement platform, was arrested recently for allegedly spreading rumours on Facebook during the road safety movement.
Her friends and family members who attended the program said she was a victim of propaganda. They also demanded her unconditional release and withdrawal of false cases filed against her.
Shafiqul Islam, father of Torikul Islam, a detained quota reform activist and student of Dhaka University (DU), requested the authorities to release his son so that he could join his family for the upcoming Eid.
In the press conference, quota reform movement Joint Convener Bin Yamin Mollah said that a girl covering her face with cloth who spread rumours on Facebook via a video about students being killed and raped in the ruling Awami League’s party office, had been wearing a pink salwar kamiz.
“Because of that, some people identified Luma as the girl spreading rumours, simply because she has the same dress. They instigated the police to arrest her,” he added.
He said police could not connect her to the video, so they should withdraw her remand and the false case against her.
On August 15, a team of the police’s cybercrime unit from Dhaka and Belkuchi police station in Sirajganj raided Luma’s grandfather’s house, picked her up in the middle of the night and brought her to Dhaka.
Although she has not been connected to the video, police have booked her in another case filed with Ramna police station and the court approved a three-day remand on Thursday.
Meanwhile, citizens formed a human chain under the banner of “Afflicted Families” in front of National Press Club in Dhaka in the morning demanding the release of Shahidul Alam and students who have been detained in connection to student movements for quota reform and safe roads.
They also demanded justice for the journalists who were attacked during the movement for safe roads.
“These arrests are creating an environment of fear, from which our nation need to be freed,” said noted human rights activist Nur Khan.
“The way students were dragged into law enforcers’ custody cannot be the sign of a civilized society,” said Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of the Gonoshasthaya Kendra.
“As this government has not come to the power through public mandate, they fear any kind of movement,” said Mahmudur Rahman Manna, convener of Nagorik Oikya.
Saleha Begum, mother of Rashed Khan, a joint convener of the quota reform movement, broke into tears while speaking at the human chain claiming her son to be innocent.
Addressing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a mother, she urged, “Please release my son. Please let him continue his study. He has not done anything wrong. He is innocent.”
Rashed Khan was arrested on June 1 from Bhashantek on two charges -o ne under the ICT Act and another for allegedly attacking the DU vice-chancellor’s house.
Human rights activist Farida Akter and academic activist Rezaur Rahman Lenin, among others, spoke at the human chain program, demanding immediate release of the students and exemplary punishment of the attackers.
They also demanded immediate release of Drik gallery Managing Director and photographer Shahidul Alam and actress Nawshaba Ahmed.