DHAKA: Arif, only son of a poor mother who separated from her husband and became very anxious how she managed her son, started drawing cartoons from his early life.
In this circumstance, he used to send his cartoons to different fun magazines, which were being published most of the times.
At one stage, he became a contributor cartoonist of the Daily Prothom Alo and the authorities paid him poorly in the name of honorarium although he was praised always by the seniors.
The condition of Arif deteriorates on September 17 in 2007 when a cartoon of Hazrat Mohammad (SM), drawn by him, was published in the ‘Alpin’, the fun magazine of the Daily Prothom ALo.
The Muslim community of the country staged string protest against the cartoon drawn by Arif.
The then caretaker government helped the Daily Prothom Alo rescue from the situation as it led to violence.
Matiur Rahman, the editor of the national daily, begged pardon to the Khatib of Baitul Mukarram in this connection.
Following the incident, Matiur Rahman sacked the section editor of Alpin Sumonta Aslam and dismissed cartoonist Arif forever from the daily.
Nothing happened to the people like Matiur Rahman who should have been the most liable in this regard as nothing is allowed to be published without his permission.
Matiur Rahman found a way to rescue after writing an editorial for begging pardon to the Muslim
community, readers and Islamic Foundation of the country and stopped publishing ‘Alpin’.
But what happened to the cartoonist Arif?
Helpless Arif was awarded to six months jail in a case of sedition and disgrace of Islam.
Moreover, the daily, in which he worked fulltime, also sacked him at that time. During the crucial moment, Matiur Rahman also said he did not know Arif!
Prothom ALo authorities did not help the Arif’s ailing mother who had to face two times of kidney dialysis when Arif was in jail.
Arif, the cartoonist, told this everything to banglanews in an exclusive interview from Norway over telephone. “Prothom Alo did not protect me when I was in need badly,” he said.
The bloggers, friends and Cartoonist Rights Network Bangladesh helped Arif survive during his tough time, for which Arif expressed gratefulness to them.
BDST: 2020 HRS, JAN 14, 2012
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