A committee will be constituted ‘if necessary’ to investigate the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in jail, after his arrest in a case under the Digital Security Act, said the Home Minister.
Speaking at an event in Chattogram on Friday, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said he hopes the autopsy report would reveal the cause of the death of Mushtaq, who had no reported ailment.
“Mushtaq Ahmed breached the law and order and hurt faith of others with his writings a couple of times earlier. Many had filed cases against him. The recent one was in 2020 for which he was in Kashimpur jail,” the minister said.
He said he heard about Mushtaq’s death from Md Mominur Rahman Mamun, the inspector general of prisons. The writer had fallen ill suddenly and was under care at the hospital in the jail. Later he was taken to Gazipur’s Tajuddin Ahmed Medical College Hospital where he died, the minister said citing the IG prisons.
Kamal said, “All deaths are subject to inquiry - be it unnatural or natural. Different questions arise. An autopsy is carried out for any deaths, regardless of it being in the prison or an accident.
“We’ll be able to accurately state the cause of his death after the post-mortem examination. We will form an inquiry committee if necessary. It happened just yesterday. We will definitely be able to do this.”
Mushtaq, 53, died at Kashimpur High Security Prison in Gazipur on Thursday night. The cause of his death was not clear, reports bdnews24.com.
Hailing from Narayanganj’s Araihajar, Mushtaq was one of the entrepreneurs of crocodile farming in Bangladesh. He actively wrote about different issues on social media.
The Rapid Action Battalion arrested him at his home in Dhaka’s Lalmatia and cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore at Kakrail on May 5 last year amid the coronavirus crisis.
The duo, along with nine others, were charged with propagating disinformation against the government on social media.
The judge rejected several bail petitions of Mushtaq and Kishore while activists demonstrated on several occasions demanding their release.
The police dropped the charges against eight of the accused and sought to press formal charges against Mushtaq, Kishore and Didarul Bhuiyan of Rashtrochinta, a group of political activists.
The charges brought by the RAB in the case include running a disinformation campaign against Bangabandhu, the Liberation War and the pandemic to hurt the image of the government or state and create instability.
The RAB also claimed to have evidence that Mushtaq and Kishore had “conspired” with Bangladeshis abroad on WhatsApp and Messenger apps.
“Many people are doing different sorts of things to destabilise the country. The people of Bangladesh did not believe the news published by Al Jazeera. The people have turned away from Al Jazeera,” said Kamal, referring to a recent report titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men” and published by the Doha-based broadcaster.
“We will look into all the matters. We are investigating why this false news was spread. We will also investigate whether anybody from within the country is involved in this,” the minister added.