Shocking are the reports emanating from Bangladesh. Here is translated news piece that set me seething,
" A court at Rajshahi in Bangladesh sent a man and his 19 year old daughter to prison as it set a date for hearing against a police prayer for 10 days and 7 days remand respectively on charges of being connected to Jamaat-e-Islami last Friday afternoon. The arrested are Engineer Abul Kalam and his college going 19 year old daughter Waseema Ehsan.
Abul Kalam Azad (52), an engineer at the government owned power plant at Katakhali in Rajshshi, was shown arrested in a case filed previously at Boalia Model Thana in connection with attacks on police. His daughter Waseema Ehsan (19), student at Rajshahi College and an examinee due to give her Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams this year, was shown arrested in a case filed under the Anti-terrorist Act. This was stated by OC Ziaur Rahman on part of the police and confirmed by the lawyers of the accused.
This arrests had been carried out in a raid on Wednesday night at their house at Ranibazaar area at Rajshahi. The OC further stated that Sakib Ahsan (15), 8th grade student of Masjid Mission Academy School and College at Rajshahi and son of the arrested Abul Kalam, had also been nabbed at the raid, but was released a day later on Thursday night since the police did not find his connection to any ‘crimes’.
Apart from their strong ties to Jamaat-e-Islami (Abul Kalam had strong ties to Shibir in his student days and was presently connected to the politics of Jamaat while his daughter Waseema was connected to Chhatri Sangstha, an Islamic organization for female students) , the OC said that his team had uncovered ingredients of cocktail making from the arrested (marbles, cans/tins and powder) along with some Islamic literature.
The police further explained that Abul Kalam was actively involved in giving donations to Jamaat and that regular meetings and programmes of the local Jamaat-e-Islami activists used to be held at his house."
The news is shocking because of the following:
1. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is NOT BANNED is Bangladesh. It is a registered political party and has representation in the current parliament. Moreover, its participation in the general elections held in Bangladesh are as old as democracy itself in Bangladesh.
2. Having Islamic books and literature is NOT a crime under Bangladeshi law.
3. They were arrested on Wednesday night, yet produced before court on Friday afternoon, more than the stipulated 24 hours allowed by the law in Bangladesh.
4. They were obviously arrested without a warrant. Waseema was shown arrested under the Anti-Terrorist Act in Bangladesh and her arrest is a clear abuse of the law which gives the security forces total freedom in arresting any person who they believe has explosives or arms, or who they believe finances terrorism, or even supposedly thinks of committing a criminal offence; the culminating act being that of a loosely defined 'terrorist activity'.
Alone, talking is all that I shall be able to do at this junction. It is up to us to call for justice, united as a body. How long this state sponsored injustice will continue, will depend on how long we decide to remain silent.