1 man, 3 cases, and ‘sentiment’

Lawyer Imrul Hasan has filed an application with a court, seeking withdrawal of the case he filed against members of popular band Meghdol, just five days after the filing.

He recently hogged the headlines for filing the case against the band, who performed at the "Concert Against Violence" in Dhaka University's TSC on October 22. The concert was organised as a protest against the recent communal attacks on the Hindu community.

In the case statement, Imrul said he watched the performance on YouTube and alleged it "hurt religious sentiment".

It touched off a maelstrom of criticism online.

Then on November 2, he filed the application for withdrawal of the case. The magistrate recorded the complainant's statement and set December 1 -- the date previously scheduled for submission of the probe report -- to pass an order on the withdrawal petition, court sources said.

The magistrate also directed the PBI to halt investigation.

"I will not make any comments about the case," Imrul Hasan told The Daily Star yesterday.

With this case, the 32-year-old registered himself at the courts as the complainant of three similar cases in last 20 months.

In his first two cases -- filed under the Digital Security Act against Baul singer Rita Dewan and Ziaur Rahman, professor of DU's criminology department -- he made the same allegations against the accused.


His case against Meghdol members was filed under sections 295A and 109 of the Penal Code with the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Mainul Islam on October 28.

The accused are Shibu Kumar Shill (vocal), Mezbaur Rahman Sumon (vocal), Rasheed Sharif Shoaib (guitar-vocal), MG Kibria (bass guitar), Amzad Hossain (drums), Tanvir Dawud Rony (keyboard) and Saurav Sarkar (flute).

After accepting the case, the magistrate on October 31 directed the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to probe and submit a report by December 1.

Following the case, different artistes and media personalities expressed solidarity with the band, posting comments with the hashtag "Meghdoler pashe darao (stand by Meghdol)".

After a video of Baul singer Rita Dewan performing a "Pala Gaan" on December 10, 2019, in Tangail's Kalihati upazila went viral, Imrul filed a DSA case against her on February 2 last year, even after another video of Rita apologising was released soon after the performance.

Imrul said he saw the video on YouTube on February 1 and alleged that her song had hurt religious sentiments.

Two others -- Shahjahan and Iqbal Hossain, owners of YouTube channels Kokil TV and Channel Rupali HD -- were also made accused in the case.

Shahjahan and Iqbal had uploaded Rita's songs to their YouTube channels, the case documents said.

On October 25 this year, the Cyber Tribunal of Dhaka framed charges against Rita, Shahjahan and Iqbal Hossain and set January 27 to begin the trial.

Imrul filed another case with the tribunal on October 25 last year after he saw a video of a talk show on private TV channel DBC News where Ziaur Rahman, professor of DU's criminology department, spoke about religion.

And yet again, he made allegations against Ziaur of hurting people's religious sentiment.
The tribunal directed the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of police to investigate the case and submit a report before it.

However, the CTTC is yet to submit any probe report before the tribunal till yesterday.


‘বাজেট ঘাটতি পূরণে ব্যাংক ঋণ নেওয়ার ধারা পরিহার করা উচিত’

বাজেট ঘাটতি পূরণে ব্যাংক ঋণ নেওয়ার চলমান ধারা মূল্যস্ফীতির চাপ আরও বাড়াতে পারে এবং আগামী অর্থবছরে ডলার সংকট আরও বাড়াতে পারে বলে মনে করছেন অর্থনীতিবিদরা।