Muktadir Rashid and David Bergman
Detectives detained a BNP leader for ‘questioning’ immediately after he came out of a television station in the capital after taking part in a talk-show in the early hours of Tuesday.
Habibur Rahman Habib, information and research affairs secretary of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was picked up just after midnight from in front of Channel 24 office at Tejgaon as he came out along with another talk-show guest, rights activist Nur Khan Liton.
Abul Kalam Azad, former press secretary to the prime minister, also took part in the talk-show.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Russell Mahfuz confirmed that Habib had been arrested.
‘In the talk-show, he was critical of the government for the confinement of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia,’ Nur Khan said.
‘When we were coming out of the studio, I saw some plainclothes men surround Habib, but I could not quite understand what was going on before I heard Habib calling me. He told me he was being taken away because of what he said on the TV,’ Nur told New Age.
‘I was only about 5 metres away and I went up to the plainclothes men and asked them who they were. One of the men said he was a “man of the government”. I asked him whether he was from the police or the detective branch. He replied he was “from the detective branch”. He gave me his details and mobile number. I asked the officer why Habib was being taken away. In reply he said “for questioning”.
Nur said that his family was now worried about his taking part in talk-shows.
Abul Kalam Azad told New Age that he did not witness the arrest. ‘It happened after I left the place,’ he added.
This was not the first time that someone was picked up after his taking part in a talk-show.
In April 2012, the detectives arrested BNP leader Qamruzzaman Ratan as he left ‘Desh TV’ office in the capital’s Mouchak area after taking part in a late night talk- show having spoken critically about the government.
He was later shown arrested in connection with two cases filed by the police.
In June 2013, Supreme Court lawyer Tuhin Malik’s parked car had come under attack from unidentified miscreants in Dhaka while he was attending a talk-show on RTV around 11:00pm.
The miscreants beat up his driver and said, ‘Go and tell Malik that if he attends any talk show again, he will be killed.’
Malik has been living in the United Kingdom since a warrant was issued for his arrest for criticising state leaders.
Unidentified miscreants had also issued threats to Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul and BRAC University professor Piyas Karim, who died in 2014 of a heart attack, for expressing their views in TV talk-shows.
Source: New Age