Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB), a platform of 20 rights and development organisations, yesterday demanded an unbiased investigation into the attacks on student demonstrations demanding safe roads.
In a press conference held at Jatiya Press Club, they also demanded release of noted photographer Shahidul Alam immediately, lifting the case filed against him and other students detained under ICT Act.
Coordinator of the platform Tamanna Haque Riti placed the five-point demand of HRFB at the press conference.
They demanded forming an unbiased probe committee to investigate the recent attacks on students and journalists, and take actions against culprits irrespective of their political allegiance.
Referring to the recent incidents, eminent rights activist Sultana Kamal said “We have to sadly raise the question why we cannot differentiate this pro-liberation government's attitude from an autocratic one.”
Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), said there is lack of transparency surrounding the arrests made in connection with the student movement.
On another note, she said they do not condone anarchy spread through rumours, and it has hampered the movement, but the rumours are not being spread from one side only.
The platform's demands also include release of the students held under ICT Act for allegedly spreading rumours, considering their age and the validity of the movement.
HRFB urged the government to ensure that teachers or law enforcers do not harass the innocent students who were involved in the recent movement for safe roads.
They also called upon the government to materialise the nine-point demand placed by the student protesters and take short and long-term measures to ensure that irregularities in the transport sector are resolved.
Condemning the arrest and alleged torture of renowned photographer Shahidul Alam, HRFB said the way Shahidul Alam was picked up from his home does not conform to the existing law of the country.
Leaders of HRFB also asked the government to explain why they did not take any action to protect the students, after conjecturing that various anti-government forces might try to create anarchy.
“How were helmet-wearing persons able to attack students in front of law enforcers, and harass female students?” asked Tamanna Haque Riti, who read out the statement.
Sheepa Hafiza, executive director of Ain o Shalish Kendra moderated the programme.