Police have arrested a man accused in a case filed over forcing an imam to wear a garland of shoes and walk around in public in Barishal.
Mentioned as accused no. 9 in the case statement, Bazlu Akon was arrested from Darichar Khajuria area of the district on Thursday noon.
The victim of this public humiliation is Shahidul Islam. He is the imam of Sikdar Bari Mosque near Steamerghat and an office assistant at Darichar Khajuria Dakhil Madrasa in Mehendiganj upazila.
On Wednesday night, he filed a case against 10 people with Mehendiganj police station. The accused are Darichar Khajuria Union Parishad Chairman Mostafa Rari, Sattar Sikder, Kabir Sikder, Union Parishad member from ward no. 8 of the union Shahidul Islam, Masud Sikder, Abul Bayati, Yunus Bayati, Moslem Sikder, Bazlu Akon, and Mashiur Rahman Bayati.
Several teachers of Darichar Khajuria Madrasa said the mobile financial service account numbers of the parents of the students of the madrasa who received stipends in 2019 were sent to authorities concerned. Because a 6th grader did not come to the madrasa while the list was being prepared, Shahidul Islam gave his cellphone number to receive the stipend on the student's behalf.
Recently, Tk1,800 of that stipend was deposited in Shahidul Islam's MFS account. He, however, forgot to inform the guardians of the student about this. Later, when the matter came to light, the father of the student came to the madrasa on May 30 and beat Shahidul Islam and took away his SIM card.
Upon learning the matter, Chairman Mostafa Rari ordered for an arbitration meeting which was held at the Union Parishad office at 10am on Wednesday.
Shahidul Islam was informed to be present there. The accused insulted Shahidul Islam in vulgar language. After that, they forced him to wear a garland of shoes and took him to Steamerrghat market. A video of the scene was also released on Facebook. Shahidul Islam has stopped coming out of his house after enduring the humiliation.
Meanwhile, the incident of insulting the imam of a mosque has triggered a storm of criticism in the area. At the same time, the locals have demanded severe punishment of those involved in the incident.
Shahidul Islam said, "The SIM card was closed for a long time. And I forgot the matter due to pressure of work in the office and all. But I did not understand that so much could happen over such a small issue. No one has ever complained against me in my long work life. I have been wronged for a small mistake."
"After seeing the matter on Facebook, senior police officials contacted me and advised me to file a case. In this context, I have filed a case against 10 people involved in the incident on Wednesday night," he added.
Mehendiganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge Abidur Rahman said, "Several teams of police have been conducting raids in different areas of Mehendiganj including Darichar Khajuria since Thursday morning to arrest the accused in the case. Meanwhile, one accused in the case Bazlu Akon has been arrested."