Arrest of 81 year old editor Shafik Rehman exposes crackdown on media in Bangladesh
By Syeda Munawara Qazi
Dhaka, Bangladesh: The government of Bangladesh starts crackdown on anti-government press and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is slowly but surely eliminating every voice that opposes her government.
The recent example is the arrest of editor of a magazine that is critic of policies of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
According to family sources, three plain-clothes officers of intelligence agency entered into the house of 81-year-old Shafik Rehman on Saturday morning in Dhaka and took him away to undisclosed destination.
Shafik Rehman is a known liberal journalist and police in a press briefing claimed that he was involved in a conspiracy case to kill Sajeeb Wazed Joy who is a son of Prime Minister Hasina Wajid and also a member of her cabinet as ICT Affairs Adviser.
Deputy Commissioner Police of Dhaka Maruf Hossain Sardar conducted a press conference following the arrest of senior journalist and claimed that Shafik Rehman was arrested as investigators found his involvement in a plot to kill Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Deputy Commissioner further claimed:
“Investigation into a case launched for a plot to kill Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has found the involvement of Shafik Rehman. The journalist’s arrest was made from his Eskatan residence on Saturday following the discovery”.
Rehman, is a British citizen and was formerly a speechwriter for many opposition leaders including former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. It may be mentioned that two top journalists have already been charged in criminal lawsuits including dozens of defamation and sedition cases.
It may be mentioned that Rehman had been editor of Jai Jai Din, a mass-circulation Bengali daily. He now edits a popular Bengali monthly magazine called Mouchake Dhil. He previously served as a speechwriter for opposition leader Khaleda Zia, a two-time former prime minister who is involved in a deeply bitter ongoing feud with the current Prime Minister Hasina Wajid.
Prime Minister Hasina Wajid is already known to purge religious leaders and those who were against independence of Bangladesh and supported the then Pakistan Army.