Manna on 10-day remand

— Focusbangla photo

Police take Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna to produce before a Dhaka court on Wednesday after arresting him early Tuesday. — Indrajit Ghosh

Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna was placed on a 10-day remand in police custody in a case filed by police for allegedly ‘trying to instigate revolt in the armed forces.’ Manna, in court, denied the charges brought by the police on him. Dhaka’s metropolitan magistrate Mahbubur Rahman on Wednesday granted the 10-day remand as Gulshan police sub-inspector Abdul Barik sought to interrogate him in the case filed Tuesday night under Section 131 of the Penal Code, on charge of attempting to seduce army officers into mutiny. Section 131 of the Penal Code says ‘whoever abets the committing of mutiny by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of Bangladesh, or attempts to seduce any such officer, soldier, sailor or airman from his allegiance or his duty, shall be punished with [imprisonment] for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.’ Manna, who along with a group of citizens initiated a move to resolve the current political crisis through a national dialogue, was picked up from a house in city’s Banani area at about 3:00am Tuesday after a telephone conversation involving him was leaked. In the conversation, Manna shared ideas with former Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka and an unidentified person about how to strengthen the current movement and his apparent willingness to talks with army generals. During the court hearing, Manna was allowed to speak in court and said he would talk to someone from the military if he [the officer] held the right rank. He also denied the media report that he had wanted killings on campus and told the court ‘I only discussed how demonstration can be expedited through the democratic process since the country had a controversial election [the one-sided polls held on January 5, 2014.]’ ‘In my conversation, I denounced the killing of people by petrol bombs as well as the extrajudicial killings…I made the comment responding to [the caller’s] observation that many were already tired [due to the political crisis].’ About 20 hours after he was picked up by men in plainclothes identifying themselves as members of DB police, and his whereabouts in the period unclear, the Rapid Action Battalion early Wednesday confirmed Manna’s arrest and handed him over to the Detective Branch of police. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Gulshan zone assistant commissioner Nurul Alam said RAB had handed over Manna to the police at about 12:30am Wednesday and he was taken to the DB office on Minto Road immediately. Manna’s wife Meher Nigar, among others, was present at the court room and had a conversation with Manna. She told New Age her husband informed her that he was blindfolded throughout the time he was picked up and produced at the police station. ‘He was taken to two places and quizzed,’ Meher added. During the remand prayer, Mirash Uddin, assistant commissioner of court police said that ‘it’s a conspiracy against the state.’ Public prosecutor Abdullah Abu echoed Mirash and said Manna was involved in conspiracy to oust the government. The defense council claimed that the conversations did not carry any words that could be considered seditious or intended to instigate violence, and demanded bail on condition of producing Manna at any time and any place in accordance with the requirement of the investigation of the case. Defense council Beg Masum Jahan argued that his client’s telephone conversation in no way had any indication of conspiracy to oust the government. ‘There is no indication of instigating the army to munity. Even the army did not issue any statement regarding instigation. Manna was implicated in the case as he was planning to contest the city corporation polls from a civil forum after leaving the ruling Awami League,’ said MSF Tuhin Hawlader, another defense lawyer. Earlier, Gulshan police sub-inspector Sheikh Sohel Rana filed the case against Manna and a ‘few unnamed expatriate Bangladeshis.’

Source: New Age