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Dhaka Tribune

Undergrad student among two held in DSA case

They shared a video and some photos—all taken in 2017-- of a police crackdown on rickshaws in Bogra 


Update : 29 Jun 2021, 11:20 PM

Police in Bogra have arrested two people, including a college student, for allegedly sharing and circulating a four-year-old video in a Facebook page, whose administrator is the student himself. 

Shariful Islam, 24, a fourth year honours student in a local college, and his associate Mahbub Rahman, 23, also the Facebook page’s moderator, were caught from Bogra city’s Nishindara Karbala early on Tuesday. 

Two mobile phones were seized from their possession. They were later shown as being arrested in a case filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA), with Bogra Sadar police station.

Hailing from the district’s Shibganj upazila, the two men were sent to jail after a court ordered police to do so later in the day.

Detective Branch of Police Inspector Emran Mahmud Tuhin said the duo last week shared a video and several photos of a police crackdown on battery-powered electric rickshaws in Bogra city in 2017.

“It appears that the accused tried to spread propaganda and confuse people through Facebook by using the video and photos as the government had recently announced a ban on electric rickshaws and vans,” the police officer said.

Sharing the old contents on their page, the accused captioned that poor and distressed rickshaw-pullers were being left unemployed, with their vehicles being crushed, he added. 

The two arrestees primarily confessed to their involvement in the crime. 

“They admitted to circulating such distorted and misleading information, video and photos through some Facebook accounts and groups,” the detective said. 

However, police did not find any political connection to the incident.  

On June 20, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan revealed the government’s plan to ban battery-run rickshaws and vans.

The DSA is very often dubbed as a legal tool to silence the dissidents and critics. 

At least 38 DSA cases have been filed in the first three months of this year, and among the accused, five are journalists, according to the UK-based rights group ARTICLE 19.

In a recent statement, ARTICLE 19 said it was alarmed by the Bangladesh government’s crackdown on freedom of expression since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Last year, at least 457 people from different backgrounds and professions were prosecuted and arrested in 198 cases filed under the DSA. Of them, 75 were journalists, while others included teachers, students, folk musicians and cultural artistes. Nearly half (32) of the journalists prosecuted were arrested. 

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