‘Why is Jhumon in jail while his attackers remain free?’
Eminent citizens yesterday demanded immediate release of Jhumon Das Apon, who has been in jail for over five months after being accused in a Digital Security Act case filed over criticising Hefajat-e-Islam leader Mamunul Haque on Facebook in March.
There is no logical explanation for why he was denied bail seven times, they pointed out, during a protest at the capital's Shahbagh.
They also reiterated the same question asked by Jhumon's wife two days ago - - "What was Jhumon's crime?"
The event -- "Shahbagh against oppression" -- was organised by a citizen's platform.
Rights activist Sultana Kamal, expressing solidarity over phone, said, "Those in power always speak about the spirit of the Liberation War. But those who attacked Jhumon Das and his community were not brought to justice; rather an innocent person like Jhumon was arrested and denied bail seven times."
His religious identity should not be an obstacle for getting justice in independent Bangladesh, which was built on secular values, she added.
"A High Court judge had said, in regards to the issue of denying bail to Pori Moni three times, that it should not be allowed in a civilised state. I want to echo his question, can something like this happen in a civilised state?"
Jhumon's post on Hefajat leader Mamunul Haque allegedly led to the mayhem in Noagaon village of Sunamganj's Shalla upazila on March 17, which saw about 90 Hindu houses vandalised and looted.
His wife Sweety Rani Das, who was present at the event yesterday along with her son, said, "I was also injured when they brutally attacked my husband. How long do I have to roam the streets to get justice?"
She also said, "He [Jhumon] is the only earner in my family. Though I am sick and helpless, I've come here to say that criminals who attacked, looted and vandalised our village are roaming around fearlessly."
Adding that she was going through a hard time with her baby boy, she sought the prime minister's attention in this regard.
Dhaka University's Prof Robaet Ferdous said, "When the constitution has a state religion, we can understand why citizens like Jhumon Das don't get justice."
Speakers at the event also urged the government to abolish the controversial Digital Security Act.
Among others, DU teacher Khairul Chowdhury, Jahangirnagar University teacher Sumana Gupta, Bangladesh Jubo Union leader Khan Asaduzzaman Masum, and one of the organisers of Gonojagaron Mancha Jibanananda Jayanta spoke at the event.
Publisher Robin Ahsan conducted the programme.