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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jhumon Das languishes in jail for ‘objectionable’ FB post, while Islamists who ransacked his village roam free

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Tuesday fixed Thursday for passing an order on the bail petition of Jhumon Das in a case filed under him under the Digital Security Act for an “objectionable” post on social media against a Hefazat-e-Islam leader.

The HC bench of Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam and Justice K.M. Zahid Sarwar fixed the date after hearing on the petition.

Das’s lawyer, advocate Debangshu Shekhar Das told IANS that those accused of vandalising the Hindu community’s houses are on bail but his client is in jail for six months, and his family is in dire straits as he is the only earning member.

On March 15, Hefazat-e-Islam’s then leaders Junaid Babunagari and Mamunul Haque spoke at a rally in Sunamganj’s Derai upazila to protest Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.

Hefazat activists alleged Das, from Noagaon village under Habibpur union parishad of Shalla upazila, had posting an “objectionable” Facebook status against Mamunul Haque. Arrested on March 16, Das was produced on the next day before a court, which sent him to jail.

Meanwhile, over a hundred Hefazat activists attacked the Hindu community in Noagaon village over the Facebook post on March 17, vandalising and looting around 90 houses and temples.

A case was filed with Shalla police station over the attack while a case under the Digital Security Act was filed against Das at the same police station.

Das’s wife Sweety Rani Das said: “Those who were arrested for attacking our village were freed but my husband is still languishing in jail.”

His lawyer said: “Jhumon’s bail petition is now awaiting hearing at the High Court. He has the right to get bail even on humanitarian ground. Bail petitions have been submitted on seven occasions to date.”

Advocates Z.I. Khan Panna, Nahid Sultana. and Ashraf Ali stood for Jhumon Das while assistant attorney general Mohammad Mizanur Rahman represented the state.

Das’ son Soumya was six months old when his father landed in jail. He turned one on September 12 and he is yet to recognise his father, though playing with his photograph. His aunts threw a small party on Soumya’s first birthday. A small cake was cut and some children from nearby houses were invited.

Meanwhile, Das’s elder brother, 27-year-old Nupur Das said: “Managing bread and butter is a big challenge for us. We now have to spend money on the case of my brother. I don’t know how long this will continue.”

Das’ wife is struggling to manage the family in her husband’s absence. She is also worried about her admission fees for her graduation. The family hope that Das would be released on bail soon.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to Hindu-Post style-guide.)

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