Dhaka: An "atheist" blogger was arrested on Wednesday in Bangladesh on charges of defaming Islam, the fourth such detention in two days as part of a crackdown to prevent exploitation of religion on the Internet.
A team of Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested 29-year-old Asif Mohiuddin from his residence at Segunbagicha in the capital, Dhaka.
"(Blogger) Asif Mohiuddin has been arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiment through his writings on blogs and Facebook," a police spokesman told newsmen without elaboration.
Yesterday, law enforcers arrested three bloggers, including a Dhaka University student, from different areas of the capital on the same allegation. Later, they were placed on a seven-day remand for making disparaging comments about Islam.
The arrests came as a radical Islamist group is set to march towards the capital at the weekend demanding death penalty for "atheist" bloggers.
Islamists alleged that the "atheist bloggers" ridiculed Muslims. Many think the arrest would add further to the growing frustration of the youths and online activists, who have been agitating since February 5 demanding death penalty of war criminals, over the government role.
A newly emerged Islamist outfit, Hefajat-e Islam, will march towards Dhaka on April 6 and has threatened a shutdown and suicide attack if the government obstructs its march demanding the death penalty for the "atheists".
Bangladesh yesterday announced it constituted a cyber crime tribunal while works are underway to toughen related laws as part of a series of steps to prevent both exploitation religion and defamation of Islam in the Internet.
Law minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed said a government committee comprising two Islamic scholars was constituted to identify websites which were either exploiting or defaming the religion.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier pledged stern actions against people to be found defaming and exploiting Islam using the Internet after rightwing Islamic parties threatened to wage an intensified street campaign against "atheist bloggers".
The existing 2006 Right to Information Act prescribed 10 years of imprisonment and penalty up to Taka 1 crore for hurting people`s religious sentiments using Internet.
The century old Penal Code suggests two years of imprisonment alongside penalty for defaming religion and hurting people religious sentiment.