Cartoonist sent to jail
Bangla-language newspaper “Prothom Alo's” freelance cartoonist Arifur Rahman was sent to jail with a pending proposal for one-month detention, a day after he was arrested on charges of hurting religious sensibilities with a cartoon story.
Metropolitan magistrate Abdul Fattah issued the order sending him to Dhaka Central Jail, after sub inspector Ali Noor presented the case to court. No lawyer was seen defending him in court. Bangladeshi top-selling Bangla-language newspaper carried a second front-page apology in as many days for the cartoon story that the daily's joint editor said was published by mistake.
Senior editors in the media industry started soul-searching and underlined a proper editorial system to be put in place to avoid a repeat of similar incidents in future.
Arif was handed over to Tejgaon Police Station after he was arrested by detectives.
Arif's cartoon story titled "Naam (Name)" appeared on the sixth page of the 431st issue of its satire magazine Aalpin that hit the stands Monday.
The home ministry Tuesday ordered confiscation of all its copies, saying the cartoon story "hurt the religious sentiment of people". In a statement, the newspaper said the daily will no longer publish written pieces or cartoons by freelance cartoonist Arif and will be extremely cautious to prevent similar incidents in future.
Some Islamic leaders led by Baitul Mukarram Khatib Maulana Obaidul Haque saw law and information adviser Mainul Hosein Tuesday and demanded arrest or surrender of the editor or others tied to the newspaper.
After the meeting with the delegation, Mainul alleged: "There is a conspiracy to destablise the country. We are very concerned about the issue."
The conspirators wanted to throw the country into a chaos, he alleged. Prothom Alo's joint editor Abdul Qaiyum told news agency by phone: "Our position is very clear. It happened because of a lack of caution.
"The cartoonist is not on the staff of Prothom Alo. He is a freelancer," Qaiyum said, couching his words carefully apparently to disown the cartoonist.
"We always review any contribution by freelancers. The cartoon was not selected for publication. Then again it got printed and it was a mistake."
"We had a staff meeting and thought it over. The person in charge was sacked. We apologised. We hope everyone would forgive us."
To put the own house in order, Prothom Alo fired the person in charge.
Tags: Islam , Cartoonist , Bangladesh
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.