Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Sunday, August 9, 2015, Shraban 25, 1422 BS, Shawal 23, 1436 Hijr

Phantom Of Death Haunts Bloggers -Part-2
Complaint to police raises risk
Pulack Ghatack
Published :Sunday, 9 August, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 156

Though the bloggers and online activists are getting death threats almost regularly and passing their days in extreme panic, they are hardly seeking police protection, which they said would increase the risk.
Most of them believe that going to police will not be a solution to their problems. Some of them believe that police will not give them protection while others believe that the police have no ability to guard them or protect them.
There is also allegation that the police are not recording their general diaries (GD) and statements seeking protection.
Additional fear of persecution and harassment by the law enforcers is also there, in case they disclose that they are atheists and they have criticised religions and faiths.
They may be arrested and prosecuted under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) (Amendment) Act, 2013, which is a harsh law having the provision of maximum 14 years and minimum 7 years jail terms. The accused under the law are generally denied bail.
Subrata Suva, who was arrested earlier for his blogging and online activism, has left the country to save his life recently. He told the Daily Observer over phone that he went to the Uttara East Police Station of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to file a GD in April in connection with a death threat. But the police did not accept his GD. Rafikul Islam, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the police station, however denied the allegation.
"I had also gone to Mirpur Police Station to file a GD. As police did not accept my GD, I wrote to the Inspector General of Police seeking his assistance to save my life," Suva said.
Many of the bloggers post their write-ups using pseudo names to hide their real identity. If they go to police they will have to record their identity and addresses which, they fear, might be disclosed.
Ishwar Kona is the pen-name of a third-year university student of physics. The young lady is getting threats of rape and death almost regularly, as she is used to back feminism, promote scientific beliefs and criticise religions.
While talking to this correspondent she said she is afraid of being raped and killed, but she did not go to file a GD with any police station.
"I will have to disclose my identity and address to police if I file any GD. I will also have to disclose that I am an atheist and I am involved in criticising religion. The police may take exception to it," she said.
What is more interesting is that Kona is afraid of annoying her own family members by exposing herself to them. If she lodges a GD, her family will know it. She does not dare to disclose to her family members that she is an atheist.
Asked why she is afraid of being killed when she is hiding her identity by using a pseudo name. Kona said, "Rajib Ahmed used to write as Thaba Baba. But he was the first to be killed."
Journalist and blogger Shamima Mitu, who is well known for her feminist write-ups, is seriously in trouble. She has received numerous threats of rape and death.
But, she did not go to police to seek protection. She does not even believe that police can ensure her security as they failed to track the assailants, who are finding safe havens in society.
"What would be the benefit of going to the police? Will they guard me? Let them identify the killer gangs first. Could they arrest the killers of Avijit, Babu and Ananta?" she questioned.
Doctors amputated a leg of reputed journalist Probir Sikdar, as assailants bombed him in 1994 for his reports on war criminals. Now he is facing death threats for posting his articles on some websites and Facebook exposing an alleged war criminal.
Probir Sikdar went to file a GD with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station on July 22. As the police did not registrar his GD, he posted his complaint on the Facebook seeking protection from the people. "My GD is yet to be received by police," he told this correspondent on Saturday. GG Biswas, OC of the police station, however, said that he was not aware of it.
Niloy Neel was the pseudo name of blogger Niladri Chattapadhya Niloy, who was killed on Friday by a killer gang of Ansar-Al-Islam, the Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent.
Before being killed, Niladri went to Khilgaon and Shahjahanpur police stations to file a GD but the police refused to record the GD. One of the police officers rather suggested him to leave the country for his own safety. The police stations, however, denied the allegation.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]