Police today arrested a hotel owner in Kushtia for allegedly harassing a US female photojournalist.
Biswanath Saha Bishu, 56, owner of Kheya Restaurant and Hotel, was arrested from a house at Chhoyrasata intersection in Kushtia town around 2:30pm, our local correspondent reports quoting SM Mehedi Hasan, superintendent of police in the district.
Later, Bishu was sent to jail after the law enforcers produced him before a local court in connection with a case filed today.
Bishu, who was drunk at that time, tried to break into the room where Allison Joyce, the US photojournalist, was staying and shouted vulgar words at her after she complained of loud voices in the hallway in the middle of the night, the correspondent said quoting a general diary (GD) filed with Kushtia Model Police Station in connection to the arrest.
Joyce came to Kushtia from Dhaka to pursue stories as part of her works on women issues and specially to cover a story on child marriage in Bangladesh and India, the correspondent said quoting her.
She checked in to the hotel after renting the room around 4:00pm on March 5, Joyce told the correspondent.
She suddenly woke up from sleep around 12:30am of the night hearing loud voices of people in the hallway near her room. She went out to tell them to be quiet.
“Biswanath Saha Bishu came to my room and stood in the doorway preventing me from closing the door. He was drunk and told me not to shout in the hallway,” Joyce told this correspondent over phone.
She returned to her room and shut the door.
But after 30 minutes, Bishu tried to break into her room around 1:00am, Joyce described.
Bishu also shouted using vulgar words, she alleged.
One of her friends in Kushtia, Ali Ehsan, rescued her from the hotel after she called him, she said.
The matter came to light when Joyce shared the matter on her Facebook profile at 4:42am on March 6. She posted a photo briefly describing the traumatic experience she had gone through for several hours.
She wrote, “Riding the streets of Kushtia following my luggage in a rickshaw at 4am looking for a hotel after the owner [Bishwanath Saha] of the place I was staying [Kheya Hotel] tried to break into my room at 1am …”
In a comment, she replied that she finally managed to secure a room at a local NGO dormitory around 4:30am.
The post soon drew attention of her friends and well-wishers. Few advised her to take legal action, describing the incident as a disgrace for the people of Kushtia and the nation and promising help for her.
A number of Facebook users, cultural and human rights campaigners and legal experts based in Kushtia interacted with her in the post.
Later, one Sufi Faruq Ibn Abubakar on March 12 handed copies of Joyce’s letter over to Kushtia Deputy Commissioner Zahir Raihan and Superintendent of Police in Kushtia district SM Mehedi Hasan.
“We found evidence of violation of rights of a foreigner at the hotel,” SP Mehedi Hasan said.
When contacted, Joyce gave thanks to the police administration for taking step.
“I want to see an end to such violation against women that always happens here and there,” she said.
“I am not frustrated, I will continue my task here, I love Bangladesh,” Joyce said.
She has also posted an update regarding this on her Facebook profile today.