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10th-Sep-2018

Free the detained students, consider their rational demand

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A GROUP of guardians have demanded the release of their children who were allegedly picked up by police from Dhaka's Mohakhali and Tejgaon areas on September 5. They urged the law enforcers at a press conference held at Crime Reporters' Association of Bangladesh (CRAB) in Dhaka yesterday to produce their children before a court if they are guilty. The family members also alleged that the detained students were to be produced before a court on September 7 but the law enforcers have not taken any such step. The detainees are Al Amin, Jahirul Islam Hasib, Mujahidul Islam, Jahangir Alam, Saifullah Bin Mansur, Gazi M Borhan Uddin, Tarek Aziz, Mahfuz, Raihanul Abedin, Iftekhar Alam, Tarek Aziz and Mehedi Hasan Rajib.
According to newspaper reports, some students, including one named Sifat, were released from the office of Detective Branch of police but the rest 12 students were not released from the DB custody. The arrestees were tortured in the DB office; one Mansur quoted Sifat as saying. The families also urged human rights organizations, including National Human Rights Commission to raise their voices over the incident.
Different media reported that the total number of arrestees was over 40. They were all arrested on suspicion of involvement in the quota reform movement. At first, the police had claimed that the detained students were kept at Mohakhali and Tejgaon police stations. But it was later seen that they were taken to DB office.
We are deeply concerned about the wholesale arrest of students. Why police would conduct fresh raid to arrest quota reformers when the government is reportedly evaluating the process? That means, the government has taken a dual policy to tackle the quota movement. While the government is assuring us about considering the students' rational demands at the same time law enforcers are hunting the student leaders -- it is totally unacceptable.
We must say the detained students should be freed immediately without further harassment. They are our children not political activists. Government cannot ignore their rational demand.