Now that a protracted student movement for road safety is long over, 99 people, mostly students, are spending time behind bar after law enforcers arrested them on charges of violence and spreading of rumours on social media platforms during the popular protest.
Police filed 52 cases with different police stations in the capital Dhaka in little over two weeks’ time (July 29 - August 15) in connection with, what they said, violence and rumour mongering during students’ movement for road safety.
Reckless race of two buses that cost lives of two college-goers in the city triggered the students’ spontaneous movement that remained largely peaceful but gone disarrayed amidst accusation and counter-accusation of attacks and rumours.
Of 52 cases, 43 cases were filed under sections of Panel Code and Special Power Act, while the rest of cases were under ICT act.
Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib, two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College were killed when an Uttara-bound bus of ‘Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan’ ploughed through the students as they were standing beside the road in front of Kurmitola General Hospital on Airport Road in the capital on July 29.
Angered by the tragic incident, the students of the college took to the streets and put up barricades on both sides of the road, disrupting traffic for nearly two hours. Finally, the protest turned into a students’ movement for ‘road safety’ as thousands of students from both public and privately-run schools and colleges as well as from universities joined the agitation.
Newspapers published lots of photographs depicting sticks and iron rod carrying youths with their heads covered by helmets joining force alongside law enforcers in different city areas further fuelling angers among students protesting deaths of their peers. None of those helmeted youths has been arrested yet.
Amid the growing student movement over a nine-point demand, especially for the ‘Road Safety’, Bangladesh police started to observe special Traffic Week across the country from August 5 and it was extended by three more days after scheduled end on August 11.
A total of 1,80,249 vehicles were sued and 5418 other vehicles were detained for violation of traffic violations, while legal actions were taken against 74,224 drivers and Tk 7.08 crore was collected as fines during the period.
Contacted, Deputy Commissioner (media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masudur Rahman said 97 people were arrested in connection with 51 cases, filled with different police station till August 11.
Among those arrestees, 81 were arrested in connection with 43 cases filed under section of Panel Code and Special Power Act, the DC (Media) said adding that 16 others were arrested in connection with eight cases filed under ICT Act with different police stations during the time.
Special Super (SS) of the CID (Organised Crime unit) Mollah Nazrul Islam told UNB that a case was filed with Paltan Police station under Section of 57 (2) of the ICT Act on August 15 (Wednesday) against two students whom they arrested from East Rajabazar and Kamrangichar in the capital on August 14 (Tuesday) night on charge of spreading rumours on social media during the recent students’ protest for road safety.
Sources at the DMP said a total of 14 cases were filed with different police stations under Ramna division and 31 people were arrested in connection with the cases.
One case was filed with a police station under Lalbagh division of the DMP and one person was arrested in connection with the case.
One person was arrested in connection with another case filed with a police station under Wari Division, while 10 people were arrested in connection with six cases filed with different police stations under Motijheel Division of the DMP.
Six people were arrested in connection with two cases filed with different police stations under Tejgaon division, while five cases were filed with different police stations under Mirpur Division.
Besides, nine cases were filed with different police stations under Gulshan Division and 26 were shown arrested in connection with those cases. Three people were arrested in connection with four cases filed with different police stations under Uttara division.