Two arrested in Bangladesh for criticising bridge

Published June 29, 2022
In this handout photo released by Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office and taken on June 25, 2022 shows Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (4R) inaugurating the 6.15km long Padma Bridge at Mawa point in Munshiganj. — AFP
In this handout photo released by Bangladesh Prime Minister's Office and taken on June 25, 2022 shows Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (4R) inaugurating the 6.15km long Padma Bridge at Mawa point in Munshiganj. — AFP

DHAKA: Bangladesh police have arrested two men for social media posts deemed critical of a new bridge that had been trumpeted by the government as one of its greatest achievements.

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge was inaugurated on the weekend in a ceremony attended by almost a million people, after a long construction plagued by delays and corruption allegations.

Its opening caps a key infrastructure goal by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and her government’s fanfare over the project has been matched by a hardline response to any criticism.

Police confirmed the arrest of Abul Kalam Azad, a former low-level official of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), without clarifying the nature of the 42-year-old’s online remarks.

His arrest came on the same day police detained a TikTok user who allegedly posted a short video showing that bolts used to fasten the bridge together could be easily unscrewed.

Bayazid Talha was taken into custody in Dhaka on Monday after his post went viral.

A senior police officer told reporters that Talha had made the video to “smear” the reputation of both the bridge and the government.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2022

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