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Court grants photojournalist Kajol permanent bail, acknowledges DSA charges

  • Published at 11:59 am March 24th, 2021
Photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol
FILE PHOTO: Photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol, flanked by his lawyers, at the Dhaka Cyber Tribunal on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Indictment hearing on April 22

A Dhaka court on Wednesday took cognizance of the charges against photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol in a case filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA) at Hazaribagh police station.

The judge of Cyber Tribunal (Bangladesh) in Dhaka, Md Ash-Shams Joglul Hossain, passed the order after scrutinizing the case dockets and other relevant documents and fixed April 22 for the indictment hearing.

The court also granted permanent bail to Kajol after his defence counsel Jaydur Rahman submitted a bail petition.

Charges against Kajol

Detective Branch (DB) of police Sub-inspector (SI) Mohammad Rassel Mollah, and the Investigation Officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet against photojournalist Kajol to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court on February 4.

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According to the charge sheet, Kajol published fake news on his Facebook page regarding the arrest and alleged crimes of expelled Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Nur Papia.

The charge sheet also alleges that he tried to extort money from female Awami League activists and leaders by threatening to defame them with doctored and indecent photos.

Usmin Ara Bally, member of Bangladesh Jubo Mohila League Central Committee, filed the case with Hazaribagh police station under the Digital Security Act in March, 2020.

Kajol sent six photos, including an indecent one, to Bally’s Facebook messenger on March 3, the charge sheet said.

Kajol also posted derogatory comments about Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Bangladesh Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Akter, Awami League leader Amir Hossain Amu, Bangladesh Jubo Mohila League General Secretary Apu Ukil, and more than a hundred other female activists on Facebook under the username “Kajol Fakir the Believer,” as per the charge sheet. 

The photojournalist was shown arrested in the case on May 14, 2020. On June 28, he was placed on a two-day remand.

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Kajol has also been named in two other similar cases filed with the capital’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and Kamrangirchar police stations.

Investigation Officer SI Mohammad Rassel Mollah also submitted the charge sheet of the case under Kamrangirchar police station on March 14.

Kajol, who had previously worked as a photojournalist at national dailies such as the "Dainik Samakal" and "Banik Barta," is the editor of the fortnightly magazine "Pokkhokal."

The journalist went missing on March 10, 2020, a day after Awami League Magura 1 MP Saifuzzaman Shikhor filed a case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station in Dhaka.

After his 53-day disappearance, Kajol was detained by the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at the Benapole border in Jessore on May 3. 

After almost eight long months since being shown arrested, Kajol was released after securing bail in all three cases on December 25.