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Prison Diaries: Chapter 1 (How I was Arrested)

Written By: MohammadHossain
19/03/2014 13:25 19/03/2014 2:01

I barely go into reminiscence, but when I do, time has that strange tendency to fly away unnoticed. I have been asked ad nauseam as to my experience in prison. Whether through bleary eyes pleading through tear soaked tones, hush reprimands or indignant snorts; many have tried to remind me of the indelible mark this experience will have wrought upon my life. Others have been highly supportive, constantly reminding me that the victory of the Islamic movement was just around the corner. However, deep down, amidst the sea of nagging thoughts and earthly worries, one little thought managed to always float above all. There is a reason behind everything that happens in your life, however big or small. My experience in jail was no exception. Before I begin with the accounts of my days in prison, I ask for forgiveness, both to the reader and the Almighty, in the event that any trace of ‘riyaa’ (showing off) inadvertently creeps in while recounting my relatively modest experience.

I was arrested by security forces on the 31st of December 2013, after approximately 11 am local time from my residence in Dhaka. There were no warrants, no accusations or even any evidence involved whatsoever. If there was any legal backdrop to my detention, I was not made aware of it even after repeatedly asking the officer who arrested me. Imagine my reaction when I saw five plainclothes policemen entering the premises of our house and begin a random search after asking who my father was! Ridiculous as it may seem, the law enforcers exhibited sneering smiles when they saw a yearly calendar of Bangladesh Islami Chatra Shibir hung on the wall of my room. I was made to sit quietly on the bed, flanked by a plainclothes brandishing a pistol dangerously close to my head, and made to watch the humiliating scenes of my room being turned outside down. Whether as a measure of premonition or not, I managed to send a quick SMS to a dear friend telling that police were at my house, donning a nervous smile at the policeman who was intently watching my every move. 

All the policemen were armed, either with pistols or shotguns. The ‘evidence’ that they turned up with, after 15 to 20 minutes of ‘intensive’ searching, were the aforementioned Islami Chatra Shibir calendar and a copy of the Chatra Sangbad, a popular monthly magazine by Shibir that a friend had gifted me a few days back. My initial bewilderment at the audacity of it all turned to alarm as the policeman standing beside me said, “Come”. “Where to? Why?”, I asked. That was when his façade of calmness broke and a glimmer of rage broke through, “Don’t you understand? Is this something new? Just shut up and come with us.”  Sensing my bewilderment, another plainclothes came up to me, and in a flat tone, asked me to take something warm. Time seemed to stop as I promptly realized that I was on the verge of being arrested. I donned on the hooded red jacket I had brought just a week earlier, taking solace in the thought that at least I would have something to keep me warm.  

All this time, my mother had turned hysterical. No amount of reason or frantic pleading seemed to work and there remained a great deal of possibility that I would turn out into another crossfire victim. “Where are you taking my son? Take me there too!!!!” she cried, as the two policemen dragged me roughly outside. Matters became complicated when they seized my laptop and mobile phone as well. As I was taken outside, I saw that the policemen had come in three unmarked microbuses. People all around had begun to gather outside their houses, watching the scene in shock as I was being whisked away. Amidst the pushing and shoving and the hysterical cries of my mother, I entered the micro in the middle, with a semblance of head held high, despite the fact that I was shaken to the core within. As the door was closed with a bang, I deeply sighed within, and prayed. 

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