Humayun Kabir and Marufa Rahman had been waiting in the court since morning. They were waiting for Akmal. They had the idea that Akmal would be sent to the court on that day. Their assumption was based on a clause of law. According to law, the accused has to be sent to court within twenty-four hours after arrest. Then the police would demand a remand. The police can keep the accused for those days for which the court will grant remand. If the court orders jail sentence, the accused has to be sent to jail.
Humayun Kabir and Marufa Rahman went to the court and narrated everything to the Magistrate. A high up officer also phoned the magistrate on their behalf. The Magistrate was more or less convinced that Akmal was innocent.
He had been implicated in a false case. He was a meritorious student of the university. Someone out of enmity had put him in trouble. No one yet knew who was killed and when and where. The media did not also throw any light on the matter. If there were any murder it would have been reported in the national dailies.
The Magistrate had assured them if he were sent to court he would be granted bail. After getting assurance from the Magistrate Humayun and Marufa felt confident. With a feeling of comfort they were waiting in the court. They were waiting for Akmal to be produced in the court. But there was no trace of him. They thought their presence was necessary to remind the Magistrate what they had narrated to him.
That’s why they were not ready to leave the court even for a moment.
Humayun Kabir could not sleep during the night. The whole night he was in tension. In the bed he frequently changed his sides. He has had such experience earlier. Whenever he thought over on any issue seriously he could not sleep. He felt sleepy; In fact sleep was very essential for him.
In the morning he stood below the shower for quite a long tune. He thought sleep would be away from him during the day but sleep was gripping him. He could no more stands below the shower. His eyes became red like the colour of a kingfisher. A cup of hot tea was very essential to stimulate him. The improvised tea stalls in the court did not attract him. Marufa also discouraged him. He was looking for a nice place. There were some restaurants in the neighborhood. If they went there it would take away a good amount of time from them. They were reluctant to waste time.
Meanwhile much time had passed. It was almost five. The crowd of people tinned Humayun Kabir uttered with vexation, ‘I don’t feel well. How long should we wait. I am very hungry Will they really bring Akmal?’
Marufa replied, ‘Perhaps he may be brought in a clandestine way and later he will be sent up to remand.’
‘What do you say?’ Humayun was startled.
‘Yes,’ Marufa said, ‘now a day such things happen. The Magistrate will be requested to stay in the court till midnight. The police will bring the accused Remand will be granted for as many days as the police will request.’
‘No, no you are not correct.’ Humayun Kabir protested. ‘The Magistrate can send the accused to lock-up in jail. He has that discretion.’
‘Yes the Magistrate has the discretion to do or not to do.’ Marufa said- ‘If the issue has any political tangle the Magistrate has nothing to do but comply with the request of high officials. They have no other alternative. In fact, the lower court is very much influenced by the government. The complainant has to go to higher courts. Now the higher courts will be his last shelters.’
‘Yes, the situation is indeed like that.’ Admitted Humayun Kabir.
‘But we frankly told everything to the Magistrate. Besides, a high official of the government telephoned the Magistrate. Even after that will the Magistrate remain deaf to our request?’ ‘That’s true but we have told everything in detail to the Magistrate. Moreover a senior government official has already requested him over telephone. Even after that the Magistrate will not do anything.’ Marufa said.
‘If the matter involves higher authority say if an influential leader of the ruling party is involved, your small supplication will be overruled. If you can spend a huge sum of money no result will come out. If you can manage an influential leader of the ruling party something may come out. How can I have the confidence of such an influential leader after writing such columns?’ Humayun Kabir asked his wife.
‘Are you writing anything false?’Marufa asked ‘Whatever you are writing are hard facts. You are commenting on the rise of the extremists. If these elements keep thriving can the country be called moderate, a modern Muslim state?’
‘There would have been no problem had the government realized this?’ Humayun Kabir said, ‘There is a hue and cry that the image of the country is being tarnished. The real situation of the country will be reflected in the international media. Can something else take its place? If your face is not beautiful, the mirror can’t make it so. You will see your face as it is in the mirror. Whose responsibility is it to improve the image of the country?’
In reply Marufa said, ‘it is my responsibility, it is your responsibility, but the main one lies with the government. If the government fails in handling its responsibility, the people like you, who are writing should point out to the government.’
‘How can I do that?’ Questioned Humayun. ‘What I am writing has already antagonized a lot of people. No one tolerates criticism. Everyone likes to be praised. If anyone criticizes, he is coloured as a writer of the opposition. The sad thing is that the intellectuals of the civil society are also coloured. These sorts of things should be eradicated; otherwise the society can’t move on a smooth track. Let’s come back to real life situation. Do you think Akmal will be brought to the court today?’
Marufa said, ‘as I told you earlier, he will be brought in a clandestine way. Then he will be sent to remand for at least ten days.’ ‘Should we wait till midnight then,’ Humayun asked in desperation.
Marufa replied, ‘If necessary we will stay. But do you know what my feeling is?’
‘What’? Humayun looked at her with an enquiring face.
‘Akmal will not be brought to the court.’
Humayun asked in astonishment, ‘Why? It is their whim,’ replied Marufa. ‘They will send relevant papers to the court and ask the magistrate sign them. The Magistrate will sign them with out any protest.’
‘That means the protectors of law will violate the law.’ Humayun uttered in surprise. Marufa said to her husband, ‘Please remember. Law is for people like you and me. Law is not for those who have power and money.’
‘You are talking nonsense,’ protested Humayun. ‘Of course, there is law. Those who abuse power also become victims of such abuse. There is such a thing as poetic justice. Nature forgives none. Those who commit crime have to face trial during their lifetime. I have the opportunity to experience many such things in my life.’
‘Leave your spiritual rectories urged his wife. You can experience the acid test through your son being brought to the court or not.’
‘Take the help of a very influential person. Otherwise I don’t see any scope to save your son.’
‘That means you are asking me to compromise?’ Humayun asked in amazement.
Marufa explained, ‘Why do you call it and compromise? If you find influential person among your friends or among near and dear ones you can approach him. It doesn’t mean that you have to surrender to him.’
‘If I have to surrender?’ Humayun wanted to know.
‘If you have to surrender, than they are not your friends’ said Marufa.
‘Politics has now gone to such an abysmal depth that it divides brothers brings violence. Do you follow? Humayun Kabir continued, I am afraid, if they ask me to sign a bond. Or ask me to give up my political writings. ‘You have to keep on writing on the emerging fundamentalism.’
Marufa said in desperation, ‘In that case you have to wait for the higher court.’ ‘By that time Akmal will be nowhere’ Humayun said in frustration.’ ‘He will not be spared. They will simply kill him.’
‘Now what is to be done?’ asked Marufa. ‘You must have either of the two, power or influence. If you have none, either of them you have to suffer mentally. There is no other way. By the by, we have not yet approached Akmal’s uncle the AIG. Has he returned from Chittagong? Perhaps he will return at a time when our problem will take care of them. During crisis no one is found for assistance. Today no one is beside us. I rang the eldest uncle. He told me that he knows everything.’
‘He will talk to his younger brother when he comes and when we overcome our problems.’ Humayun said. ‘Somewhat in vexation and somewhat in desperation.’
‘Don’t be frustrated. Have patience please. Everything will be alright.’ Marufa tried to console her husband.
‘You ask me to have patience. Will my having patience solve all problems?’ Then what will you do?’ Asked Marufa. ‘Approach your influential friends. Give a bond if necessary. Go and tell then that you will not write against fundamentalism. You will not criticize the government on any issue.’
‘Please stop, Marufa you know very well. I will not compromise on any issue, let alone my son.’ ‘Then what will you do now? The court is also closed now.’ Marufa wanted to know.
‘Let’s go home.’ Humayun suggested. ‘At night we shall try to contact AIG Monzur.
Then they started for home.