Public Kiss Ignites “Ferocious” Outcry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh: A picture shared by Bangladeshi Photographer Jibon Ahmed on his social media handle hasn’t gone viral but also made him pay the price. What’s there in that sensational/controversial pic?

The photo — a dreamy scene of two lovers kissing in the monsoon rain — went viral in Bangladesh almost immediately after photojournalist Jibon Ahmed posted it on his Facebook page. A Young Couple were captured kissing publicly at the premise of Dhaka University where it has been reported that students have even engaged in public sexual activities in the campus park in after dark hours.

Jibon Ahmed captioned the pic: ‘This is a poem of the blessed rains, let love be free’. He  posted the controversial picture on his Instagram and Facebook accounts, where in an hour it had been shared 50,000 times.

The next day, he said, some of his fellow photographers roughed him up, and the very next day, his boss asked him to turn in his ID and laptop, without giving him a reason.

In a country where Secular Nationalism and Islamism have been battling each other, This Kissing Photograph created a storm. There are people who appreciated the lovely moment. A Twitter User opined the pic is real Bangladesh and only such kind of love can destroy Islami Fundamentalism.

On the other hand, Haters came to know about the whereabouts of Jibon Ahmed and thrashed him. Shockingly, there were photographers among those who had beaten him at Dhaka University. The news website for which Jibon Ahmed works had even fired him after this controversy.

This isn’t the first time Jibon Ahmed made headlines. He was thrashed by Islamists in 2015 for helping Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger Avijit Roy and his wife reach the hospital after they were attacked.

Many on social media reacted positively to the photo’s moment of unselfconscious joy — something rare these days on the campus where it was taken, the University of Dhaka, roiled by protests and violent incidents in recent months. Three conservative students were suspended this month for allegedly assaulting two students for holding hands.

But others in Bangladesh — a majority-Muslim country where extremism is deepening — thought the photo was indecent.

According to the Bangladesh News 18 website, one conservative blogger wrote: “Lovers are getting more audacious by the day. Earlier these things were done in secret. Now they are doing it in broad daylight. The day is not far when they will be making love in public in broad day light in front of people.”

The incident came at a time when journalists are facing a wide range of threats in Bangladesh which include militant attacks that “decimated a once-thriving community of bloggers,” tough criminal defamation laws and a rising intolerance toward dissent by the governing ruling party of the present Prime Minister.

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