Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blogger Asif arrested

Law minister goes back on remark

Blogger Asif arrested

Detectives yesterday arrested blogger Asif Mohiuddin, who had been attacked by Islamist fanatics in January following alleged postings on the Internet “comments derogatory to Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)”.
The arrest comes a day after police captured bloggers Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Rasel Pervez and Moshiur Rahman Biplob in the capital in connection with similar offences.
A team of Detective Branch of police picked up Mohiuddin around 2:00pm yesterday at his sister’s Segunbagicha home, where he had been staying since January 13 when he was stabbed by fanatics at Uttara.
The arrests came amid strong criticism over the government’s role, which many termed as “submissive”, after some radical Islamist organisations threatened to unleash anarchy if the “atheist bloggers are not hanged”.
Many think the arrests would add to the growing frustrations of the youths and online activists who had been agitating from the platform Gonojagoron Mancha since February 5 demanding death penalty for all war criminals. The three bloggers arrested Tuesday were affiliated with the platform.
Mollah Nazrul Islam, deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch, yesterday said, “We have arrested Asif as he had posted many pieces insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam on different blogs and pages.”
Nazrul said, “He [Asif] had been continuing his activities even after being attacked.”
Hours after the arrest of three bloggers and before his own arrest, Asif via facebook condemned and protested the arrests.
He said, “To drag religion into politics and playing with it like a football is the real offense towards religion. So separating religion from the state is the primary concern of the blogger community in Bangladesh, and also to save religions from being insulted.”
Hailing from Comilla, Asif studied on electrical and electronics engineering at American International University. He won Deutsche Welle sponsored BOBs [best of blogs] award in 2012.
He had worked with an IT firm. He was active on different blogs like “somewhereinblog”, “dhormockery” and “amarblog”.
According to sources, the BTRC had taken down 120 of his posts from somewhereinblog.net.
On Monday, a detective branch of police team arrested four youths and claimed that they were the members of “Ansarullah Bengali Team”, a newly-launched militant organisation.
Police said students who had killed blogger Rajib for his online posts “insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam” belonged to the same team.
Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was stabbed to death on February 15 at the capital’s Pallabi by “a group of fanatics”. Police had arrested five students of North South University in connection with the killing.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed made a U-turn yesterday and said the government has no plans to amend the laws concerned to extend the punishment for hurting people’s religious sentiments.
The day before, he had said the government was planning to amend the laws concerned.
“The government will not bring any change in the law to raise the punishment for hurting religious sentiment, as the perpetrators can be tried and punished well under the existing laws,” he told The Daily Star around 2:30pm.
The highest punishment for publishing fake, obscene or defaming information hurting religious beliefs is 10 years’ in jail and a fine of Tk 1 crore under the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006, the minister said.
On Tuesday, Shafique told the media at a press conference that government plans to amend the law to heighten the punishment for hurting religious sentiments.
However, Shafique’s deputy State Minister Quamrul Islam told The Daily Star around 6:00pm that the government has indeed a plan to amend laws to enhance punishment for hurting the religious sentiment.
He also said the government is yet to decide by how much the punishment would be raised.

  • Prince

    Freedom of speech does not give the power of writing derogatory comments on the religions and the great men which can cause clash in the religious communities.