Writer Mushtaq’s death in custody triggers protests

Activists of different left-leaning student’s organisations blocked Shahbagh intersection in the capital on Friday, protesting the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in police custody.

They alleged that Mushtaq Ahmed died on Thursday following “excessive torture” in Kashimpur High Security Prison in Gazipur, and demanded justice.

Progressive Students’ Alliance brought out a procession from TSC area around 11am, paraded Shahbagh and Paribagh, and later blocked the Shahbagh intersection, creating huge traffic congestion there and nearby roads.

Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, died on Thursday night in Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur.

The jail authorities said Mushtaq was first taken to the jail hospital after he fell sick on Thursday evening. Later, he was sent to Gazipur Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead, they said.

Speaking at the protest rally, general secretary of the Socialist Student Front, Nasir Uddin said Mushtaq wrote against alleged corruption in April last year and “looting during Covid-19 pandemic”. “But the government is too intolerable to take such criticisms. He was brutally tortured in prison. He sought bail six times but he was denied bail,” Nasir said.

He went on saying, “We’re protesting the deprivation of democratic rights because irrational laws like the Digital Security Act. We’re demanding immediate repeal of the Digital Security Act.”

Zahid Sujan, general secretary of the Bangladesh Students Federation, said author Mushtaq had been in jail for nine months. “The present government denied him his human rights.”

President of the Democratic Student Council Arif Moinuddin, office secretary of Pahari Chhatra Odhikar Parishad Rajendra Chakma and others also spoke at the protest programme.

Writer Mushtaq Ahmed is believed to have been arrested under the Digital Security Act (DSA) for posting “anti-government articles” on Facebook.

He used to write under the pen name ‘Michael Kumir Thakur’. His book "Kumir Chasher Diary" was published in November 2018, and he was working on another book.

He was also critical on social media of the government's handling of the pandemic.

Source: United News of Bangladesh