Journalist Ariful Islam, who was sentenced by a mobile court in Kurigram on Friday midnight for allegedly possessing illegal drugs, has given a shocking account of the ordeal he went through.
After a district court granted Ariful bail on Sunday, he was taken to Kurigram General Hospital for treatment.
Describing his experience of that night, the Kurigram reporter of Bangla Tribune said, "I went to bed after dinner around midnight on Friday. But someone started banging on my door. I asked for their identity, but no one answered. Then I called the officer-in-charge of sadar police station.
"A group of people, led by Nazim Uddin, RDC (Senior Assistant Commissioner-Revenue), broke down my door. Nazim Uddin then began beating me up with his fists. They forcefully loaded me to a vehicle while beating me, and tied up my hands, feet and eyes."
Ariful said the group repeatedly threatened of shooting him. "Say your last prayers, you will be shot," said Ariful quoting his assailants.
Continuing his harrowing tale, the journalist said, "In the car, I started begging for my life. I told them that my parents are no longer alive, but I have two kids. I told them not to kill me. They took me to a building. After taking a peak under my blindfold, I realised that it is the deputy commissioner's building.
"A group of people, led by Nazim Uddin, then took me to a room, stripped me naked and then started beating me again. They said that they are taking a video of me. They also shouted verbal abuses at me. I heard Nazim Uddin repeated telling someone to contact the deputy commissioner and ask for instructions about what to do with me."
Ariful further shared experience that night, "I had asked them multiple times about what was my fault? Nazim Uddin told me that I have disturbed them too much and he will teach me journalism. Then they took my signature on four papers while blindfolding me. I was sent to jail the same night.
"No one informed me about why I was sent to jail and why I was detained. They also instructed the jail authority to prevent anyone from meeting me for a month and provide me with no treatment whatsoever."
Presently undergoing treatment at the hospital, Ariful said, "On Saturday, jail authority came to me and asked me to sign a document. The authority said it was the bail document and my family had sent it. I signed it, but I do not know who sent the document.
"After being released from the jail, I learned that no one in my family had sent the document."
Around midnight on Friday, executive magistrates, along with a taskforce of police and Ansar, entered journalist Ariful's home at Charuapara and reportedly beat him up.
They later took him to the deputy commissioner's office forcefully. Then, a mobile court sentenced him to one year in jail and fined him Tk50,000 for reportedly possessing 450ml of local liquor and 150g hemp.
However, Ariful's coworkers and family claimed that the deputy commissioner acted in such a way because the Kurigram reporter had made some reports alleging that she was misusing her power.
The Ministry of Public Administration took the matter into cognisance after the incident caused a countrywide uproar.