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9 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Students’ movement for Road safety

Probe into cases to end by Dec

FAISAL MAHMUD and SAUGATO BOSU
Probe into cases to end by Dec

Investigations into cases filed against students who allegedly played a part in spreading rumours and false news in the digital medium to instigate the protests for safer roads and quota reforms are likely to end by the end of December this year. Police will submit the charge sheets after completing the investigations against the involved students, official sources with the investigating law enforcement agency told The Independent yesterday.

More than 100 people, mostly students of private universities and colleges, were rounded up in 53 cases in the capital alone over vandalism and attacks on law enforcers and the spreading of rumours on social media since the students' protest for road safety began on July 29 following the deaths of two students in a city road crash, according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).

Of the arrestees, 22 were picked up from their university campuses in the capital on August 6, while the rest were detained from Kotwali, Dhanmondi, Paltan, Shahbagh, Uttara Paschim, Ramna and New Market areas from August 4 to 6.

Just before Eid, 83 students were given bail over two days on August 19-20.

Earlier, in February, students of different public universities and jobseekers, under the banner of ‘Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad’, initiated the quota reform movement, demanding changes in the quota system in government jobs.

Eight leaders of the movement, who were arrested in July for alleged vandalism, assaulting and preventing police from discharging their duties during the movement in April, among others, have recently got bail.

Sakhawat Hossain Nijhum, a student of North South University (NSU), who was arrested on August 6 and was released on bail on August 20 told The Independent that the two weeks that he spent inside the jail still haunts him.

“I am attending classes and trying to get back to my usual and normal life. But it’s not easy,” he said.

Nijhum said he had a hearing due on September 18 at the Chief Metropolitan Court (CMM) in Dhaka. “My parents live in Rangpur. My mother will come to Dhaka and he will take me to the court.”

When asked what he thought would happen to him, Nijhum, said, “I didn’t do any crime; I simply raised my voice and wrote on my Facebook wall for safer roads. I hope, I will be spared from this case.”

Saddam Hossain, a student of the University of South Asia arrested on August 5 from Dhanmondi and was released on August 21 on bail, told The Independent that he was arrested as a “suspect”.

“I didn’t commit any crime and I didn’t post anything on Facebook or any other social media. I don’t know why police had arrested me. I hope I will walk free in this case,” he said.

Talking to The Independent, Kazi Mainul Islam, officer-in-charge of Ramna police station said a total of 14 cases were filed in his station against students allegedly involved in spreading rumours during the movement for safe roads.

“We have arrested the students and handed them over to court for further proceedings. Our involvement is finished as all the cases were filed under the Section-57 of the ICT Act. So the Cyber Crime Division of the police is the investigating agency here and they will submit the charge sheet,” said Mainul Islam.

Md Nazmul Islam, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Cyber Crime Division of DMP told The Independent that they were investigating the cases.

“We are investigating 53 cases now. It will take some time since we are doing it very carefully and meticulously,” said Nazmul, adding: “Since young students are involved here, we are handling it in a delicate manner. We want to make sure that no

innocent student gets punished for the crimes they didn’t commit.” ADC Nazmul said creating a peaceful movement is a democratic right and no cases were filed for practicing that right. “But spreading rumour and fuelling chaos are crime and those who did those would be brought to the book,” said Nazmul.

He said, without revealing much details of the investigation, that the IDs of the students had already been sent to Facebook’s Asia Pacific regional office for appropriate cross-matching against the IP address. The deleted posts from the IDs will also be retrieved for further investigation.

The seized elements from the students, meanwhile, are sent to the sole investigation laboratory of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). “The forensic lab of the CID is conducting investigations on them,” said Nazmul, adding, “And it will take about two months to get results from the CID lab.”

Molla Nazrul Islam, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of CID told The Independent that they had received some of the seized elements related to the cases filed under the ICT Act. “We are conducting investigations into them. Since there is only one lab in the CID, the investigations are in a queue; so, it might take some time. Barrister Jotirmya Barua, who represents some of the students in court, told The Independent that getting bail in a case was one thing and acquittal was another.

“These cases, which were filed under Section 57 of the ICT Act, are far from over. Those were filed based on the First Information Report (FIR) of police. I have seen some of those FIRs and found them to be very weak.”

Barrister Barua believes if proper investigation is conducted, the students will be acquitted as the charges brought in the FIRs do not properly fall under Section-57 of the ICT Act.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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