June 16, 2009

Shahidul Alam Detained By Indian Border Security Forces

Shahidul Alam, Image by Ahmed Arup KamalDifferent news sources confirms that Shahidul Alam, internationally renowned photojournalist from Bangladesh, blogger, E-Bangladesh author and founder of the Drik picture network has been detained by the Indian border security.

According to David Brewer of Media Helping Media:
In a message to this site from Dhaka, Alam’s partner says he was working on a multimedia project about the Brahmaputra river with two colleagues when border guards took him away.

There are now fears for Alam’s safety and supporters are calling on the international community to push for his release.
Brahmaputra Project (Click image to go to the project page)
(Click image to go to the project page)

At the time Alam was working on the Bangladesh end of the river Brahmaputra project. He had travelled to Kurigram with two Drik colleagues to take photos, video and stills.

A press release from Drik News quotes:
Dr Shahidul Alam, renowned photographer, founder of Drik and Chief Editor of DrikNEWS— an International News Photo Agency, was detained today (June 16th 2009) at about 5 pm by the members of the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) while working on the Bangladesh side of the border on one of his National Geographic projects based on Brahmaputra. The BSF guards on duty had first asked him to come over and then detained him at Sahapara across the border from Rowmari. His two colleagues, who were accompanying him, are on the Bangladeshi side of the border and have so far failed to establish any contact with him.

Unheard Voice Blog has the latest:
Shahidul’s mobile was soon handed back to him. He has phoned me to say that he is well, news seems to have gotten through to the BSF post that he should be released, but that procedural matters needed to be completed. Shahidul is being interrogated, a routine matter (conducted by Dhubri thana), and will be released after it is completed. Have heard through friends that BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) has called a flag meeting.

Update from Media Helping Media:
Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam has been arrested for the second time in 24 hours, this time by border guards in Bangladesh. The second arrest came hours after Alam was detained and interrogated for six hours by Indian border security guards (BSF).

At 03:00 this morning Alam called colleagues to say he had been arrested again but this time by Bangladeshi border guards (BD).

He was taken to a local police station and a case was filed by SI Amir Ali under the Control Entry Act/4,1978 Bangladesh (case number 6, dtd 17.06.2009). It is understand the charge relates to illegal entry.

Alam then spent the night in custody. He is due to appear at court today, Wednesday 17 June, and is expected to apply for bail.

Image of Shahidul Alam by Ahmed Arup Kamal


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