Reported on: July 13, 2012 13:27 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, July 13 (UNB) - A 75-year-old Bangladeshi sculptor, whose works include the country’s Liberation War of 1971, and his daughter-in-law have been languishing in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the last eight years.
Rashid Ahmed and Nur Nahar were arrested on the charge of possessing fake currency while on a visit to India.
Mukto Bangla (Free Bangla), one of the sculptures designed by Ahmed, is on display at the Islamic University in Kushtia, Bangladesh.
After waiting years, Ahmed’s daughter, who is in Dhaka, has approached the Bangladesh High Commission in India for the release of her father whose health has been deteriorating.
Ahmed had come to Delhi in 2004 with daughter-in-law Nur Nahar as they wanted to visit the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer.
According to his family, Ahmed and Nur Nahar checked into a hotel in Paharganj, Delhi where they later had an altercation with the manager over money. The next thing they knew was that both had been arrested by the CBI on the charge of possessing fake currency notes. Ahmed and Nur Nahar were sent to jail after being produced in a city court.
Ahmed’s daughter approached the Bangladesh High Commission which subsequently sent several reminders to the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs regarding his early release.
In 2005, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, then a Union Minister, also wrote to External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, asking him to look into the matter.
In his letter, Dasmunsi said “Rashid Ahmed, who is a great sculptor of Bangladesh... designed the monument of the liberation struggle... Muktijudhha Smriti Soudha... came to India with his daughter-in-law... on 20th December, 2004 he was arrested by some persons with fake currency... since 22nd December, 2004, he is in custody in Tihar Jail... since the days of the Bangladesh Liberation, this sculptor’s name is known not only in Bangladesh but parts of West Bengal as well with respect.
True it is that that the case is being pursued in court, but it appears to me that if the artist is freed and proceedings are withdrawn, it would be a great contribution to our understanding and ties with Bangladesh. I cannot imagine and believe such an honest sculptor shall indulge in such nefarious things.”
When his comments were sought, Md. Nazibur Rahman, Minister (Consular) at the Bangladesh High Commission, said: “After we sent reminders to the MHA and MEA, we got a response from the MHA that the letter has been sent to the authorities concerned. We have not got any confirmation about Ahmed’s release. Since the case is being tried in court, expediting it is not in their hands.”
Source: The Indian Express