Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said today that baul singer Shariat Sarkar was arrested for his involvement in crime, and that it had nothing to do with singing baul songs.
“As he was arrested, surely he was involved in some crime or he was arrested as crime was committed,” she said in reply to a supplementary question from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president and lawmaker Hasanul Huq Inu during the PM’s question-answer session at the parliament.
The PM said there was nothing wrong in singing baul songs.
“But if an individual baul singer is involved in any crime, the law will take its own course. The law will take its actions and it has no relation with the songs,” she added.
“Are all the baul singers above the law or can a guarantee be given that they never committed any crime?” Hasina questioned Inu.
She advised baul singers not to do anything that shows baul songs, which are part of world heritage, in a bad light.
The PM, however, said that if anyone committed any crime against baul singers, the government must take punitive action against the culprits.
“Unnecessarily cutting hair or putting barriers on performing songs is not acceptable at all,” she said.
Police arrested Shariat Sarkar, 40, a famous baul artist, on January 11 in a case filed under the Digital Security Act for allegedly making comments that hurt “religious sentiment”.
During a concert in late December 2019, he allegedly criticised religious Muslim clerics who oppose singing and had issued a monetary challenge to anyone who could prove that music was forbidden under Islamic scripture.
Mohammad Faridul Islam filed the case with Mirzapur Police Station in Tangail on January 9, accusing Shariat of making comments during a performance that hurt his “religious sentiment”.
TOUGHER ACTION AGAINST CREATING ARTIFICIAL CRISIS OF ESSENTIALS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also warned that tougher action would be taken if someone is involved in creating an artificial crisis of essential commodities in the market.
In reply to a query from Awami League MP Md Ebadul Karim (Brahmanbaria-5), the premier said some greedy and profit-mongers often try to gain more profit and destabilise market by creating an artificial crisis of essential commodities. “Our government is very aware of this.”
She added that if the government could identify the people involved in creating an artificial crisis of essential items in the market, tougher action would be taken against them.
Sheikh Hasina, also Leader of the House, said mobile court drives are being carried out regularly to check prices of essentials, while district administrations in coordination with traders’ associations are monitoring markets.
She said there is an ongoing process to control markets through the appointment of sources and intelligence surveillance.