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Mymensingh Graphics man Shamim arrest, attack on his freedom?

Politics 2024-02-20, 12:31pm


Arrest of Mymensingh Graphic designer Shamim Ashraf.

The arrest of a graphic designer Shamim Ashraf in Mymensingh on Sunday night for designing a poster critical of the former city mayor Ekramul Haque Tito, who is also the president of the AL Mymensingh City unit, ahead of March 9 polls in the city corporation has raised questions about his freedom of expression.

According to reports published in different newspapers and the media, the arrestee was accused of doing posters critical of the development initiatives of the former mayor of Mymensingh City Corporation who is seeking reelection.

Kotwali police made the arrest and sent the graphic designer, who is also a poet and social activist in the locality, to jail framing case under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that precludes warrant of arrest.

Reportes published in newspapers and the media say some local BCL leaders and workers of Tito visited Graffiti, the graphic design office of Shamim Ashraf located at Atharo Bari Building area of the city. The BCL leaders accused the graphic designer of making propaganda against former Mayor Ekramul Haque Tito.

Section 54 of CrPc is utilized the arrest people without a warrant of arrest from the court. This section of the criminal procedure says, among other things, Any police-officer may, without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest: first, any person who has been concerned in any cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made or credible information has been received or a reasonable suspicion exists of his having been so concerned…” 

The accusation of propaganda made against the graphic designer relate to his fundamental right to freedom of expression. If the posters made by graphics man Shamim Ashraf were critical of the development initiatives of a former mayor the latter has reasons to feel bad. But the answer to this is not to take to the police to arrest him. The former mayor can get one hundred posters done in reply to one designed by the graphics man. The path chosen to respond to criticism by silencing the critic is wrong. The use of might to silence opponents can never be right to be condoned.

Another candidate of the mayoral election Ehteshamul Alam who is also the president of the Mymensingh district unit of the AL has criticized the arrest. He has accused workers of Ekramul Haque Tito including his elder brother Aminul Haque Shamim also of making derogatory remarks against him in writings and videos on social media platforms.

Media reports say mayoral candidate Ekramul Haque Tito who is supposed to be aggrieved by the posters made by designer Shamim Ashraf was unavailble for comments on the episode.  

The arrest, outcome of an essentially local intra-Awami League conflict, has victimized a creative mind, a designer, poet and social worker undermining his fundamental right to express himself. Conscientious people only wonder when application of this arm of the vague law against creative minds would stop.