Denmark base organization Freemuse and Bangladesh base human rights
organizations Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and
JusticeMakers Bangladesh –JMBT issue a joint call to end the
investigation of band Meghdol.

On 15 November 2021, at BST 5:00pm all of the organizations issue the
joint call on their website and social media call on the Bangladeshi
authorities to end the investigation against Meghdol.

“Investigating members of the band Meghdol over their music is in
clear violation of the musicians’ human right to freely express
themselves artistically,” said Gerd Elmark, Freemuse Interim Executive

“The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 19 of the
ICCPR and should be protected. Artists should not be subjected to
legal prosecution for their political beliefs or stances towards
religion. We call on the Bangladeshi authorities to end the
investigation against Meghdol”  he added.

“We are gravely concerned over the incident of investigating members
of music group Meghdol for hurting religious sentiment. […] Instead of
constitution guaranteeing freedom of artistic expression as
free-thinking, artists and activists are continuously facing obstacles
and barriers to exercise their constitutional rights by state and
non-state actors in Bangladesh. […],” said Shahanur Islam, Secretary
General, Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and JusticeMakers

“We are urging the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to do everything in
her power to ensure to drop the case against members of Meghdol after
a full and impartial investigation into the reported case […]” Mr.
Islam added.

The joint call stat that On 31 October 2021, the Metropolitan
Magistrate Court ordered the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to
investigate members of the rock band Meghdol three days after a legal
complaint was filed against them for allegedly insulting “religious
sentiments” during one of their performances.

Furthermore, it states that according to Dhaka Tribune, the seven band
members Shibu Kumar Shil, Mezba-ur Rahman Sumon, Rashid Sharif Shoaib,
MG Kibaria, Amjad Hossain, Tanvir Dawood Rony and Sourav Sarkar are
under investigation after lawyer Imrul Hasan filed a complaint to the
court alleging that his “religious sentiments” had been hurt. Hasan
claims that  Meghdol insulted his religious sentiments during the
performance of the song Om at the concert Against Violence at Dhaka
University held on 22 October 2021, which was later streamed on

Freemuse sources report that Hasan filed a complaint under Section
295(A) of the Penal code, criminalising “insults or attempts to insult
the religion”. If found guilty, the band members could be punished
with imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.

Hasan claims that the band used the melody from the Islamic prayer the
Talbiyah and    “disrespectfully” sang the verse “Labbaik Allah humma
labbaik”, meaning “Here I am, O Allah, here I am” during their
performance. The court ordered the PBI to submit its report by 1
December 2021.

It also states that as mentioned in the State of Artistic Freedom 2021
report, there were 24 persecuted artists in 2020 under the pretext of

Again it states that this is not the first instance of Hasan targeting
Bangladeshi musicians with complaints of this nature.  In February
2020, the lawyer filed a complaint against Rita Dewan, Baul singer,
under section 28 of the Digital Security Act (DSA), which prohibits
broadcasting any content “with the aim of hurting religious sentiments
or values”.

Finally, Freemuse, the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights and
JusticeMakers Bangladesh call on the Bangladeshi authorities to end
the investigation against Meghdol.

The main statement is also available on  Freemuse, BIHR and
JusticeMakers Bangladesh page visiting the following links:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *