Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 6 Issue 21 | June 1, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   Food for Thought
   Special Feature
   Human Rights
   View from the    Bottom
   In Retrospect
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks

   SWM Home

Human Rights

In a Web of Conspiracy
Hana Shams Ahmed

If there ever was any confusion about why someone should be kept in jail, it would be in the case of 24-year-old Shumantra Das Gupta. Known as Tanu by his family and friends, he spent most of his time on his personal computer trying to develop his skills as a graphics designer, at the same time studying for his BBA from Leading University in Habiganj, Sylhet. He was also on good terms with the son of the local ward commissioner and stand-in chairperson of Habiganj, Khaleda Jewel, who used to study with him at his university.

This relationship proved perilous when things weren't going well between the two of them. When a four-year-old child, whose father was good friends with Khaleda, went missing, Tanu's name came up as the possible perpetrator on local newspapers. That too, three weeks after the incident took place. According to Tanu's second brother Shuranjan Das Gupta, when Tanu's eldest brother Subrata Das Gupta (who lives in San Fransisco) asked Khaleda Jewel (who first suggested Tanu's name as a possible perpetrator) how his brother's name came up after so long the commissioner told him that if he gave 1 lakh taka, the case against his brother would be withdrawn. Subrata refused and said that if Tanu was innocent there was no way he would give that money.

A committee was set up with five advocates and members of the civil society, headed by ex-AL MP Abdullah. The committee members looked at all the evidence and listened to the accounts of both the parties and then chose a particular day to give the verdict. They gave individual verdicts to the MP Abdullah but he kept dilly-dallying with the announcement. All this time Tanu's education was put on hold because of pressures from all sides. When one of the committee members, Advocate Bijon Chowdhury was approached, he said that they had found their brother not guilty and had already given this verdict.

When the caretaker government came to power and the joint forces raided Khaleda Jewel's house they found four rounds of bullets in her house. When asked about how she acquired them, she said promptly that she had enemies in the neighbourhood, and accused Tanu of planting the bullets in her house. Tanu was then arrested by the joint forces. He was taken on a five-day remand, and accused him of being a human trafficker, an arms dealer and a terrorist. No evidence was found against him and the case was dismissed within 20 days.

About two months ago, Tanu was framed by Khaleda's people again, who said that he had been threatening them after coming out of jail. He was arrested again and given bail. While on bail, Khaleda's people again complained that he had been threatening them and was put back in jail again on the May 22nd.

Time and time again, Tanu has been accused of various criminal activities. Commissioner and stand-in chairperson of Habiganj tried to pass off her own cagey activities to this gifted student who spent most of his free time on his PC experimenting with graphic design software and time and again he has been set free when no evidence was found against him. Tanu's family is a very simple family from Habiganj and has been living there for generations. When two of the elder brothers went to live abroad some of the locals' started envying their improved position. The result was the underhanded method of extortion and the ultimate framing of Tanu.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007