Stamford University student Shipra Debnath, also a crew member of slain Maj (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan, has promised to file cases under the Digital Security Act against police officials and others who made her life miserable by circulating her private photos on social media.
In a video statement yesterday, she sought justice for the killing of Sinha and the attempts made to assassinate her and her colleague Shahadul Islam Sefat’s characters.
After Sinha’s murder on the night of July 31, she alleged, police went to their resort and seized both their laptops, three hard drives, mobile phones, monitor, desktop, camera, and lenses.
“But those were not in the seizure list. Now I don’t know how to get those back,” she said.
“I have been noticing for the last several days that some of my personal photos were posted on social media by tailoring and editing those in Photoshop to create a different meaning.
“Stealing photos from our social media profiles and [seized] devices, some officers with perverted minds shared those on Facebook and other social media platforms. Fake Facebook and Instagram IDs were created in my name,” Shipra said.
“The people who have made my personal life miserable by sharing photos and making videos, I will take proper action against each of them under the Digital Security Act. I swear…” said the 25-year-old student.
Shipra was accused in a narcotics case following the killing of Sinha. She along with two other students of her university and Sinha went to Cox’s
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Bazar on July 3 to take part in a documentary being made by the former major.
Sinha was killed in police firing on July 31 at Shamlapur police check-post, triggering an outcry in the country.
Shirpa was arrested on charge of possessing liquor and marijuana, and was released from jail on bail amid widespread protests.
Since her release, she has been exposed to cyberbullying. Two superintendents of police posted Shipra’s personal photos on their social media accounts, taking a dig at her character. A Supreme Court lawyer on Sunday filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the two police officers’ actions.
“I want justice for the murder of Maj (retd) Sinha. I want justice for the character assassination of me and my colleague. I want law enforcement agencies to adopt positive lens,” Shipra said in the 8:56-minute video.
The attempt to assassinate her character was an insult and humiliation to every working woman in the country, she noted, adding that it was done intentionally to divert attention from the killing.
“Isn’t it [the attempt at character assassination] a punishable offence under the law of Bangladesh?” she asked.
“I am a student and I also work, besides studying. In an independent country, doesn’t any woman have the right to live like according to her will while not harming others?” she asked.
Shipra said that she is not blaming the entire police force as there are many honest officers.
“But if the officers accused in killing and the officers with perverted minds engaged in defaming a woman are not identified and brought to book, the nation will hold the entire police force responsible,” she said.
Describing the fateful night of July 31 and its aftermath, Shipra said about 10-12 police members entered their resort after 12:00am without any search warrant or any female police.
Without permission, they searched their rooms but did not give any information about the whereabouts of Sinha and Sefat even after repeated questions, she said.
Around 2:30am, some plainclothes men appeared at the scene and Shipra repeated the question.
“They then said, ‘Yes, Sinha is dead’.
“Without giving any reason, they took me and my other colleague Tahsin Rifat Noor to Ramu Police Station. Then in the afternoon, they took us to the office of Cox’s Bazar SP… In this whole period, I requested every police officer to allow me to see Maj (retd) Sinha for the last time… but my request fell upon deaf ears.
“Around 8:00pm, they escorted me in a police van. Then I was sent to jail. There, I came to know I am accused in a narcotics case,” Shipra said.
She said she met some women in the jail whose husbands met the fate of “crossfire” by police.
“While I was coming out of jail, they requested me to talk about them too. This responsibility still haunts me,” Shipra said.
In the video, she requested authorities concerned to investigate and talk to the helpless and tortured women in the jail.
Speaking about Maj (retd) Sinha, she said he was fond of travelling and a man full of dreams and adventure.
“As an army officer, he was an all-rounder… He served the prestigious SSF for a long time. He worked for the protection of our honorable prime minister. And today, how logical is it to question his intelligence, character and team choice?” she asked.
Shipra said Maj (retd) Sinha was the chief coordinator of their documentary team and took every decision surrounding logistics.
“In one word, he’s our guardian.”
When asked, Lt Col Ashique Billah, Rab’s legal and media wing director, at a press briefing in Cox’s Bazar refrained from making any direct comment about the video and said that the elite force is only in charge of investigating the murder of Maj (retd) Sinha.
“Whatever came in the media or went viral on social media, is a private matter of Shipra Debnath. As a conscious citizen, she may take help of the law,” he said.