Shipra Cyberbullied: HC rejects writ plea on technicalities

The High Court yesterday rejected a writ petition that challenged the legality of two police officers posting photos of Shipra Debnath with provocative comments on Facebook.

The bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order considering that the petition was not placed properly.

Writ petitioner Manoj Kumar Bhowmick told The Daily Star that he prayed to the HC bench to reject the petition as the bench was not likely to pass an order for taking action against the police officers.

The HC bench said that there is an alternative way to get remedy from the lower court concerned about such issues, he said, adding that he might move the same writ petition before another HC bench.

Manoj Kumar Bhowmick, a Supreme Court lawyer, on August 16 submitted the writ petition as public interest litigation to the HC, seeking its order on the authorities concerned of the government to launch a probe into this issue and take proper action against the police officers responsible for posting the photographs on Facebook.

In the petition, the lawyer said the action of police officers posting personal photographs of Shipra Debnath along with provocative comments on Facebook is illegal because it assassinated her character.

He submitted the writ petition based on a report published on The Daily Star on August 16 under the headline “Cyber-bullying now adds to her trauma”.

On Wednesday, Shipra’s lawyer Mahbubul Alam said that Shipra would decide whether to sue the two policemen and others under the Digital Security Act after yesterday’s HC rules on the writ petition regarding the matter.

Contacted yesterday, Mahbubul said he was yet to discuss the matter with his client.

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.

On Wednesday morning, Shipra and her lawyer were going to Ramu to file the case but they stopped after learning about yesterday’s HC hearing.

Shipra was accused in a narcotics case following the killing of Maj (retd) Sinha. She along with two other students of Stamford University and Sinha went to Cox’s Bazar on July 3 to make a travel video.

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

Since her release, she has been exposed to cyberbullying. Two police superintendents posted Shipra’s photos on social media, taking a dig at her character, her family members alleged.

On Wednesday, a Cox’s Bazar court 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.


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