A government official has been harassed for publishing a child's portrait of the Father of the Nation.
A lawyer in Barisal filed a defamation case of Tk5 crore against Barguna Sadar's Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) Gazi Tarek Salman at the Barisal Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court on June 7.
The lawyer, Obaedullah Saju, the president of Barisal Lawyers Association and a local Awami League leader, says the portrait is an “insult to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman” and a “defamation of the nation.”
Gazi Tarek was sent to jail in the case on Wednesday and then released on bail on Thursday.
The portrait, drawn by a student of class five in Barisal, was selected through an official competition on the occasion of Bangabandhu's birthday and printed on the back of an invitation card for the local administration's Independence Day official event. Gazi Tarek was the UNO of Barisal's Agailjhara upazila at that time.
After his release, the UNO told Bangla Tribune that there was no reason that a child's painting could have caused anyone such an affront and he suspected that harassing him was the real intention behind this case.
But he would not elaborate.
“I suspect that whoever was behind this lawyer wanted me removed from Agailjhara by creating an adverse situation,” he said.
Tarek was transferred to Barguna after the case was filed.
Obaedullah Saju however, stuck to his narrative, and said the case was his own initiative.
“I filed the case because I think the picture in the card is an insult to Bangabandhu,” he told Bangla Tribune.
Asked for his reaction, Jamal Uddin Ahmed, a professor of drawing and painting at Dhaka University, said the portrait was clearly a work of an innocent child.
“I do not think awarding or printing this portrait was a bad thing to do. There is a tendency to lodge such cases to attract attention or to please certain quarters. That is completely unacceptable, he said.
This story was first published in the Bangla Tribune