Rozina Islam, a senior reporter of Bengali Daily Prothom Alo, has been detained for allegedly taking snapshots of an official document at the Secretariat without due permission.
The incident took place on Monday afternoon when Rozina went to the health ministry inside the Secretariat as part of professional duty around 3:30pm. At one stage, she was locked in a room there and her mobile phone was confiscated.
After receiving the news of Rozina's detention, journalists from different media outlets rushed to the spot. When they asked the ministry officials why they detained Rozina, they paid no heed to the query, according to a Prothom Alo report.
Later, many journalists took position outside the Secretariat and protested the harassment and detention of Rozina Islam.
At one stage, Rozina fell sick inside the office and was taken to Shahbagh Police Station around 8pm, after around five hours of detention.
Monirul Islam Mithu, her husband, alleged that Rozina Islam was harassed as she has long been investigating and reporting on different irregularities and corruptions in the health sector.
The information officer of the health ministry - Maidul Islam - said a complaint was lodged against Rozina Islam for taking snapshots of some official documents at the Secretariat.
Shajjadur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Ramna Division), told The Business Standard that Rozina Islam had been taken into police custody upon allegation from a deputy secretary.
The authorities were preparing to file a case over the incident as of filing this report at 9:50pm.
Meanwhile, Jatiya Press Club President Farida Yasmin demanded that Rozina be hospitalised and provided with proper treatment.
In a Facebook post, the chief of the journalists' supreme organisation said Rozina Islam was detained and harassed in the Health Services Division of the Secretariat.
"I have spoken to health minister, home minister, information minister and press secretary to the prime minister over the incident. They have assured to solve the issue," she added.
What does the complaint say
Dr Md Shibbir Ahmed Osmani, deputy secretary of the Health Services Division (HSD), filed the complaint with Shahbagh Police Station soon after the incident, alleging that Rozina Islam tried to steal important documents of the state.
She entered the office of the HSD secretary around 2:55 pm in absence of the official. Later, she took some documents and captured some of those on his mobile phone.
When the on-duty police personnel barred her from taking snapshots, she identified herself as journalist.
At one stage, other senior officials went to the spot and recovered some documents searching her body and confiscated her mobile phone.
It is apparent that she was stealing the important state documents away, read the complaint.
It also mentioned that the process is underway to formulate drafts of various deals and agreements regarding the procurement of vaccine from different countries.
There have been frequent transactions of mail and letters, containing various important information, over the deals.
Rozina captured some of those important documents. There is fear that Bangladesh's relation with the respective countries may get harmed if the documents are disclosed publicly.
HSD clears way to legal procedure
Soon after the complaint was lodged, a letter, signed by Health Services Division Deputy Secretary Md Abdus Salam, was issued to Shahbagh Police Station, clearing way to legal action against the journalist.
It directed the police to take necessary legal action against the reporter.