Leftist student organisations have blocked the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka in protest against the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in jail following his arrest in a case under the Digital Security Act.
Hundreds of protesters marched in a procession to the intersection from Dhaka University’s TSC around 11am on Friday.
The hour-long blockade caused traffic congestion on all four sides of the major thoroughfare.
The protesters announced that a torch procession would be taken out from TSC in the evening, while also revealing a plan to surround the home minister’s office on Sunday. The protests ended with a rally towards the TSC around 12pm, bdnews24.com reports.
Mushtaq, 53, died at Kashimpur High Security Prison in Gazipur on Thursday night.
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 two, along with nine others, were charged with propagating disinformation against the government on social media.
Members of progressive students’ organisations brought out a protest rally at TSC after the news of his death spread Thursday night.
“The government has been looting people and created a mafia system in the country. The country has become a police state. The government silenced the voices of the people with the Digital Security Act. Mushtaq was a victim of that. We strongly condemn the incident,” said Al Kaderi Joy, president of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front.
“We demand the repeal of the Digital Security Act immediately. All those arrested under the act must immediately be released or else the protests will continue.”
The doctors declared Mushtaq dead on arrival when he was taken to Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital after falling unconscious at Kashimpur High Security Prison, said Senior Jail Superintendent Md Gias Uddin.
The writer had no reported ailment and the cause of his death was not immediately clear.