Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarkar was released Wednesday night several hours after he was detained by the Rapid Action Battalion from a rally at Shahbag in Dhaka organised by the platform protesting at ‘indiscriminate murders’ of unarmed people in the name of crossfire during the ongoing anti-drug drives.
A text sent to media by the battalion legal and media wing sometimes after 11:00pm said that Imran was released from battalion custody after interrogation.
Imran could not be reached for comments.
Mancha organiser Khan Asaduzzaman Masum confirmed that Imran was released at 11:30pm and reached house half an hour later.
Earlier, the elite force picked up Imran from Shahbag rally organised against the backdrop of the killing of 142 suspected drug peddlers or addicts, mostly in reported ‘gunfights’, while different political parties, intellectuals and rights groups continued protests against such ‘extrajudicial killings’.
The Mancha, a platform campaigning for war crimes trial, was also barred by the police from holding a rally at the same venue on Sunday.
Huge number of police and battalion members, in uniform and plain clothes, gathered surrounding the venue much before beginning the Mancha protests.
Imran was dragged onto the microbus amidst protests from Mancha and Chhatra Union activists. As the protesters blocked the way of the vehicle, the law enforcers charged batons injuring at least six Chhatra Union activists.
Mancha activist Sangeeta Imam, also assistant general secretary of Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, said it was their constitutional right to hold rally but the law enforcing agencies picked up Imran and charged baton without any provocation. ‘It is totally unacceptable. We had informed police. We had permission [to hold the demonstration].’
Shahbagh police station officer in charge Abul Hasan, however, claimed that they had no permission from the police for holding the programme.
Chhatra Union president GM Jilani Shuvo told New Age that six leaders and activists, including its general secretary Liton Nondi, Dhaka university unit president Foyez Ullah, Dhaka city unit president Dipok Shil, were injured in the baton charge.
Protesting the extrajudicial killings during the ongoing anti-drug drives, Dhaka University unit of Chhatra Union formed the human chain titled ‘the next bullet is for you, are you ready?’ in front of the National Museum.
Speakers at the rally urged the government to stop the extrajudicial killing and to enforce law strictly to curb the menace of drugs.
Human Rights Forum Bangladesh, a platform of 20 human rights and development organisations, in a statement on Wednesday demanded immediate end to ‘gunfights’, probe into all the deaths in ‘gunfights’, security for the ‘gunfight’ victim families, amendment to the anti-narcotics act and involvement of people in containing drugs.
Bangladesh Chattra Union and Democratic Students’ Alliance brought out processions at the Dhaka University in the evening protesting at the attack on Chattra Union leaders and activists and arrest of Imran.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Bangladesh in separate statements protested at the attack on Chattra Union leaders and activists and demanded immediate release of Imran.
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