Bangladeshi photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam was abducted from his home in Dhaka on Sunday night, allegedly by officials from the city police’s Detective Branch, for posts supporting the ongoing student protests in Dhaka, his multimedia agency Drik said.
Around “30 to 35 men, in plain clothes, who claimed to be from the Detective Branch”, picked up Alam from his home after 10 pm [9.30 pm Indian time] on Sunday while he was “screaming as he was forcibly pushed into the waiting car”, Drik quoted security guards and eyewitnesses as saying. The suspected police personnel also “took away” CCTV footage, manhandled the guards and locked them up, the organisation added.
Additional Commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Detective Branch) Abdul Baten told United News of Bangladesh that a team of detectives had detained Alam from his home in Dhanmondi for interrogation.
However, Ramna Division Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdullahel Kafi said the police had not detained the photographer and did not know anything about the matter. He confirmed that a member of Alam’s family had told the police that he was picked up from his home, Dhaka Tribune reported. “We are investigating this allegation,” he added.
There have been widespread protests in Bangladesh’s capital since July 29, when two students were run over by a bus. Students have set up blockades on major roads, vandalised cars and are even acting as vigilante traffic police.
Thousands of protestors took to the streets in Dhaka on Sunday to demand safer streets even as the police fired tear-gas shells and pro-government activists attacked them with clubs, AP reported. Pro-government activists also allegedly attacked five journalists.
The ruling Awami League party has blamed the main Opposition for using the students’ anger to create chaos and use it for political gains ahead of elections in December.