12:01 AM, May 12, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Cops act strangely

Cops act strangely

Activist of 'Save Dhanmondi Playground' sued for vandalism, arson, carrying explosives, firearms
Staff Correspondent
Ishtiaque Ahmed
Ishtiaque Ahmed

Within four hours of his release, a green activist was arrested again for Friday night's vandalism at the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.
Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, 36, was made accused in a case for vandalism, arson and carrying explosives and firearms.
However, he was granted bail when Dhanmondi police presented him yesterday before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court with a seven-day remand prayer.
Unidentified miscreants on Friday night defaced the mural of Sheikh Jamal and vandalised the guardroom of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club at the capital's Dhanmondi-8 playground.
Using the name of environmentalists, they also hung banners hailing greens for freeing Dhanmondi playground from illegal occupation and defaming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina' family. The campaigners say it was mean to sabotage the movement.     
On Saturday morning, Ishtiaque, also a telecommunication engineer, was taken to the Dhanmondi Police Station after he was assaulted by some people from the club.
Ishtiaque had tried to pull down some of the anti-government banners and festoons.
"The officer-in-charge of Dhanmondi Police Station told me that they can let me go if I can get permission from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner," he told The Daily Star yesterday.
"Later around 4:00pm they [police] let me go after I gave an undertaking," he said. However, around 7:45pm, police called Ishtiaque over to Dhanmondi Police Station. He complied and got arrested.
"We have made a huge mistake letting you go, because the highest level in the government has expressed their anger over your release. The highest level in the government is convinced that you defaced Sheikh Jamal's mural and put up anti-government banners," Ishtiaque quoted the duty officer as saying to him.        
Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa), in a press conference yesterday morning said Deputy Commissioner Maruf Hasan of Ramna zone police told him that Ishtiaque cannot be released because of an instruction by the highest level of the government.
However, Maruf denied saying any such thing to Habib. "We arrested Ishtiaque because club authorities complained of his involvement in Friday's incident."
Asked why Ishtiaque was detained, released and arrested again within hours, officer-in-charge of Dhanmondi Police Station told The Daily Star, "We arrested him based on the case relating to Friday's incident.
"Initially we were not certain about his involvement and brought him for primary interrogation."
He added that after investigation from Saturday afternoon to 8:00pm, they became convinced of Ishtiaque's involvement in the incident.
He too denied of any order from the government high-ups.  
At the press conference, Habib also said, "Using the name of environmentalists, a vested group hung banners and festoons around the Dhanmondi playground, belittling Bangabandhu's family and the government."
The meet was arranged by activists of “Save the Dhanmondi Playground Movement” at Dhanmondi's Chhayanaut Bhaban.   
He said all the banners and festoons used by Bapa and the other organisations that are involved in the movement are made of cloths not the PVC material, with which Friday's banners were made.
"We did not carry out any of the activities of this movement without media's presence," Iqbal said.
Habib pointed out that the actual campaigners would never make the mistake of using the word “Engr” before architect Mubasshar Hussain's name.
Former president of Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) Mubasshar Hussain, architect Salma A Shafi, Kamrunnahar Dana, general secretary of Bangladesh Women's Sports Association and former cricketer Gazi Ashraf Hossain, as well as other eminent personalities and human rights activists were present at the conference.
The campaigners demanded punishment to conspirators who are trying to insult the government and Bangabandhu's family and sabotage the movement.
Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, a limited company, has been illegally occupying the playground for the last few years.
The High Court in 2011 ordered the city corporation, police and public works ministry to open the field to public and remove all illegal structures from there.
On April 18 this year, the club sued Mubasshar Hussain, Iqbal Habib, Salma A Shafi and Quamrunnahar Dana for entering the playground.
However, on April 24, the Dhaka South City Corporation opened the playground to public.



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