Rehabilitate sculptor who was jailed in India: Dhaka daily

The government needs to seek clarification from the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on sculptor Rashid Ahmed and his daughter-in-law who languished in an Indian jail for some eight years, said a Bangladeshi daily, seeking rehabilitation for them.

An editorial in the Daily Star Wednesday said: “We have no words to express our utter shock at the way sculptor Rashid Ahmed and his daughter-in-law Nurun Nahar suffered in an Indian jail without trial for some eight years.”

Their release might well have been further delayed, it said, had it not been for the expose in the media and payment of the fines as part of the court sentence by some kind businessmen.

The daily cited Rashid Ahmed as saying that barring two visits from the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi during the eight years in question, no effective measures were taken in providing legal support to the two Bangladeshis.

“They needed special attention if only because they were put through the legal system in a country they were visiting,” it said.

The tragedy befell them after they checked in a New Delhi hotel while on a pilgrimage to Ajmer in India in December 2004. Indian intelligence officials arrested them for allegedly carrying fake Indian currency.

“One wonders how two Bangladeshi nationals were allowed to languish without trial for such a long time? Add to this the fact that having been involved in the case, they had no access to finance or legal aid,” said the daily.

“It appears whereas the Indian authorities treated them with sternness, it was through the kindness of some private citizens that he and his daughter-in-law could taste freedom, even though belatedly,” it added.

Who would compensate for the years lost from the lives of the aging sculptor and his eldest son’s wife, whose family members also suffered hardships inordinately, the editorial asked?

“The government needs to seek clarification from the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on the matter and take issue with the Indian authorities so that such incident does not recur in the future.

“…some ways may be found to rehabilitate the sculptor and his family,” it said.

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