Retired army officer Shafiqul Islam knocked on every possible door in the last one and a half months, hoping someone would help his son Tariqul Islam get bail.
He appointed a lawyer after his son, a law student of Dhaka University, was arrested on July 3 during the quota reform demonstrations.The 60-year-old has been travelling from home in Comilla to the capital hoping to be able to do something. But Tariqul, also a member of Chhatra League in DU, was denied bail twice.
The grieving father attended a human chain formed by the families of students detained during the quota reform and road safety demonstrations in front of Jatiya Press Club.They demanded release of the students before the coming Eid and urged the prime minister to intervene. Rights activists and civil society members also attended the programme.
Shafiqul's son was arrested in a case filed over vandalism at the VC's residence on DU campus.Shafiqul added that he too was a member of the Awami League in Comilla.
“I don't know where I should go.... None of the ruling party men I have contacted helped me,” he said, adding he had also contacted the DU authorities to no avail.
Saleha Begum, mother of arrested quota reform leader Muhammad Rashed Khan, said, “Please release my son before Eid. Let me celebrate the Eid with him.”
Since Rashed was arrested on July 1, she has been travelling from Jhenidah to Dhaka to join public events and demand his release. Saleha said her son was never against the government.
Rights activist Nur Khan said “arbitrary” detention and arrest of students caused widespread fear. “The nation needs to be free from the fear.”
Eastern University teacher Rezaur Rahman Lenin said around 200 students were picked up and nearly 100 cases filed during the two widespread demonstrations.
Saiful Azam, a final year student of the University of Asia Pacific, said he and several other students of the university were attacked on August 5 while demonstrating on Green Road for road safety.
But instead of finding out the attackers, police picked up some of the students that evening and released them later.Nur Khan, who helped organising the human chain, said some families of the arrestees did not attend the programme fearing reprisal.
Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said no political slogan was chanted during the road safety demonstrations. “Yet, the government was afraid of their agitation,” he said. He also pointed out that those who attacked the students and journalists during the demonstrations remained untouched.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said students being tied with ropes was not the sign of a civilised society. “Attempts are on to keep people mum,” he said.
Source: Daily Star