Cyberbullying: Shipra to decide on filing case after HC rule

Stamford University student Shipra Debnath would decide whether to sue two policemen and others under the Digital Security Act after the High Court rules possibly today on a writ petition regarding the matter.

The writ seeks HC orders for a probe into police officials’ Facebook posts that try to smear her by circulating doctored private photographs in social media.

“We will follow the orders and directives given and then make a decision,” Shipra’s lawyer Mahbubul Alam Tipu told reporters yesterday afternoon.

On Tuesday night, Shipra, a crew member of slain Maj (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan’s YouTube channel, went to Cox’s Bazar Police Station to file a case against two superintendents of police and 150 others under the Digital Security Act.

Cox’s Bazar Police Station officer-in-charge refused to record the case and advised Shipra to file it with either Ramu Police Station or with the cyber-crimes tribunal, Shipra’s lawyer said.

Yesterday morning, Shipra and her lawyer were going to Ramu to file the case but returned after learning about the HC hearing the writ yesterday.

Mahbubul said Shipra’s personal photos were posted on social media sites, including YouTube, after doctoring and editing those in an offensive way.

On Sunday, Supreme Court lawyer Manoj Kumar Bhowmik submitted the petition as a public interest litigation, seeking its order on the authorities concerned of the government to conduct a probe. He said the action of the two police officials was illegal.

He submitted the writ based on a report published by The Daily Star on Sunday with the headline “Cyber-bullying now adds to her trauma”.

Talking to this correspondent after yesterday’s hearing, Manoj said, “The court wanted to know whether I have the right to file the case on behalf of Shipra and why Shipra couldn’t come to the court.”

“I told the court that Shipra has no scope to come to Dhaka as she is apparently confined following security issues. I talked to her [over phone] last night.”

“It’s not only a matter of Shipra, but also a public matter, including the women of our country. It’s a matter of constitution and it’s a matter of human rights,” he said.

SPs Mostafijur Rahman of Satkhira and Mohammad Mizanur Rahman Shelley of Dhaka Metro South of the Police Bureau of Investigation would be accused in the case along with 100-150 others, the lawyer said.

Shipra was accused in a narcotics case following the killing of Maj Sinha. She along with two other students of her university and Sinha went to Cox’s Bazar on July 3 to make a travel documentary.

Maj Sinha was killed in police firing on July 31 at Shamlapur police check-post, triggering an outcry.

Shipra was arrested at a Cox’s Bazar resort for possessing liquor and marijuana and was released on bail amid widespread protests.

The police had seized personal digital devices in her possession.

Since her release, she has been exposed to cyberbullying. The two SPs posted Shipra’s personal photos on social media, taking a dig at her character, alleged her family members.

On Monday, Shipra in a video statement alleged that police went to their resort after Maj Sinha’s murder and seized both their laptops, three hard drives, mobile phones, desktop PCs, cameras, and lenses.

She vowed to sue the people involved in releasing the photos in those devices.

Meanwhile, a Cox’s Bazar court yesterday directed Ramu police to hand over 29 types of items seized from Shipra, including mobile phones, laptops, hard drives, to Rab, which is investing the murder case.

Earlier, Rab appealed to the court to get the items in their custody as they are investigating the case.

Meanwhile, Abul Khair, officer-in-charge of Ramu Police Station, claimed that there was no scope to leak photos and videos from seized electronic devices.

The OC told reporters that they made two seizure lists following the drive at the resort. One was for the narcotics case and the other for personal items they seized through a general diary, he added.

Asked, he said that they informed the court about the seized items including devices in the police station’s custody.

SP Mostafijur could not be reached for comments on his phone despite several attempts.

PBI SP Shelley said, “Yes, such comments can be made [by police]. What’s the problem?

“I didn’t take the photos. She posted those pictures publicly herself on her different social media. You can see the links … .”


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