Shipra Rani Debnath (23), a student of the Film and Media Studies Department, Stamford University, and one of the three crew members of late Major (retd) Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan (36), was passionate about tourism video film making. Her involvement in Major (retd) Sinha’s project on making the travel documentaries for a YouTube channel called ‘Just Go’ was one of the few projects where she ventured into with the aim of expanding her horizon and enriching her skills into this arena. During the project, Major (retd) Sinha was allegedly shot by Inspector Liaqat Ali in a supposed ‘crossfire’ at the police check-post at Shamlapur, Baharchora Union, Teknaf on the night of 31 July 2020, when he was on his way to Cox’s Bazar from Teknaf. Following his death, Shipra was arrested for the alleged possession of alcohol.
Although much spectacle ensued following the killing of Major (retd) Sinha, Shipra along with other crew members fell into the hurdle merely by being associated with the Major. After the ‘crossfire’, one of the students who accompanied Major (retd) Sinha that night on the road, was instantly arrested and sent to jail in another case on the allegation of possessing alcohol. After this debacle, the police reached the place where they remaining crew members, including Shipra, were staying and held them over allegations of storing liquor and marijuana in their rooms at Himchhari’s Nilima Resort. That night, Shipra was arrested under the Narcotics Control Act.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) received information about Shipra’s condition from local newspaper reports. After this ASK communicated with the family members of students. At that time, Shipra’s whole family was residing and located in Kushtia, and she had no other relatives available or living in Cox’s Bazar. When ASK communicated with the family members, they requested ASK to stand beside Shipra and provide her with the legal aid. ASK then decided to provide its legal support to Shipra with through the assistance of Cox’s Bazar Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF). The Forum’s Convenor and Joint Convenor agreed to extend their support to the best of Shipra’s interest in this case. Under the supervision of Advocate ZI Khan Panna, Chairperson, ASK, Advocate Arup Barua Tapu, Convenor, HRDF and Advocate Abdus Shukkur, Joint Convenor, HRDF, initiated the legal proceedings. They represented Shipra and applied for her bail on behalf of ASK. During this time, all the relevant and supporting documents were collected with the assistance of ASK’s Investigation Team from the relevant sources. On 9 August at 12 noon, in the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Ramu Upazila, Magistrate Mohd. Delwar Hossain granted Shipra’s bail.