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16 March, 2020 12:56:20 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 March, 2020 11:45:19 AM
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DC Sultana to be removed: Minister

HC asks for copy of mobile court trial
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka with our CORRESPONDENT, Kurigram
DC Sultana to be removed: Minister
Sultana Pervin

Kurigram Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sultana Pervin will be withdrawn from the district for being involved in a case of misuse of power in arresting a journalist at midnight and sentencing him to one year in jail early on Sunday in Kurigram. Not only this, the authorities are going to file a departmental case for misconduct against the DC in question.

The authorities, especially the public administration ministry, have taken the decision on the basis of the inquiry report submitted by the Rangpur divisional commissioner on the arrest of Bangla Tribune and Dhaka Tribune journalist Ariful Islam at midnight. He was sentenced to one year for “possessing drugs”.

Talking to media-persons at his Secretariat office, state minister of public administration, Farhad Hossain, said the DC would be withdrawn and departmental action filed on the basis of the report of the inquiry, conducted by an additional commissioner of

Rangpur, into the arrest of journalist Arif and his sentencing to one-year imprisonment.

“The inquiry committee found discrepancies in her words in her statement on journalist Arif arrest at midnight,” he said. “We will take action against all the officials involved in the Arif arrest,” he promised. He added that the officials had tarnished the image of the government and the authorities would never take their responsibilities.

Replying to a question, the state minister said the journalist Arif has already received bail and the allegations have not been proved, which was why the journalist would be proved innocent soon.

After receiving an order from the DC of Kurigram, Sultana Pervin, assistant commissioner and executive magistrate (local government record room and ICT section), Rintu Bikash Chakma, ostensibly conducted a mobile court task force. It arrested Ariful Islam from his house at midnight and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment for “possessing drugs”.

After hearing about the incident, Farhad Hossain had asked the acting divisional commissioner of Rangpur Division to probe the incident and submit the report within 24 hours to the Cabinet Division.

Journalist Ariful Islam had filed a report over a renovated pond in Kurigram town that was being named after the deputy commissioner. Besides, he also wrote another report recently over irregularities in respect of appointments in the DC office. The DC had expressed her dissatisfaction over the report and warned him to not file any further news report relating to her. Despite her threats, Ariful reiterated to the DC that he would file many more stories about various irregularities of the district administration in future.

After the DC’s threats, law enforcement members led by magistrates picked up Bangla Tribune and Dhaka Tribune journalist Ariful Islam up from his house in Kurigram. A mobile court, set up in the dead of night on Friday, sentenced him to a year in jail and fined him Tk. 50,000.

The Kurigram district correspondent of Dhaka Tribune and online news portal Bangla Tribune was sent early on Saturday to jail, set up at the office of the Kurigram DC. The trial proceedings were ended. The mobile court said they had recovered drugs and alcohol from the journalist’s residence, which his family termed “absurd”.

Ariful’s wife Mostarima Nitu said a group of persons knocked on the door of their residence at around 12.30am on Friday. Later, seven to eight persons in Ansar uniform entered the house by breaking open the door and started beating up Arif. When he asked why he was being physically abused, they again assaulted him.

Meanhwhile, the High Court (HC) yesterday sought a copy of the mobile court’s verdict to examine why Kurigram journalist Ariful Islam was sentenced to a year in prison.

 An HC bench ordered the prosecution to submit a copy of the verdict today (Monday) stating whether the arrest and jail sentence of Ariful was legal.

 The bench, comprising Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir, issued the order during a hearing on a writ petition filed by Harun Ur Rashid, executive editor of the online news portal Bangla Tribune. The petition challenged the legality of Ariful’s conviction and subsequent jail sentence.

 In the petition, Rashid requested the HC to direct the authorities concerned to provide Tk. 50 lakh as compensation to Ariful.

 The HC bench fixed Monday as the date of the next hearing on the petition.

 Ariful, a Kurigram district correspondent for Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune, was sent to jail in the early hours of Saturday, soon after a mobile court set up at the Kurigram DC’s office closed the trial proceedings.

IK

 

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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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