Stamford University students protest unlawful arrest of Sifat, Shipra

Stamford University students protest unlawful arrest of Sifat, Shipra

Students of the Department of Film and Media studies of Stamford University have protested the unlawful arrest of their classmates, who were arrested during the murder of the retired Bangladesh Army Major Rashed Sinha in Cox's Bazar.

They formed a human chain in front of the National Museum at Dhaka’s Shahbagh on Friday and demanded the unconditional release of freelance photographer Sahedul Islam Sifat and filmmaker Shipra Rani Debnath of the department.

The students deemed the arrest of their classmates “unlawful” and demanded immediate withdrawal of the charges. They also demanded that the arrestees are not mentally abused and their families harassed by the state agency.

They further demanded to ensure justice in the murder of Major Sinha by initiating a proper investigation.

Ganashanghati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, from the human chain, said: “The government using state machinery to kill its citizens is not an isolated incident. Rather finding justice in such a scenario would be an ‘isolated incident.’ We must stand together.”

Chhatra Union leader Liton Nandi said: “Over the last decade, more than 5,000 people were murdered in extrajudicial killings … Even Teknaf police OC [now withdrawn] Pradeep Kumar Das was rewarded with BPM [Bangladesh Police Medal] award for such killings.”

Film director Giasuddin Selim said: “Sifat and Shipra were screenwriters for one of my films, so I know them personally. Police have charged them in a false case after killing another individual. In our country, police can frame anyone with false charges.”

Major (retd) Sinha had been in Cox's Bazar with the students for making a documentary film.

Last Friday night, Sinha was killed by police in a so-called “gunfight” at Cox's Bazar’s Marine Drive.

Arrest warrants have been issued against nine policemen over the incident.

Teknaf police station’s OC Pradeep Kumar Das, Baharchhara police outpost’s Inspector Liakat Ali and Sub-Inspector Nanda Dulal Rakkhit have been arrested and placed on a seven-day remand by the court.