We can still recall those dark days when radical groups protested against Arifur Rahman’s cartoon on the later banned fun magazine Alpin of Prothom Alo. Arif was a mere contributor, but the 1/11 government jailed and tortured this creative young man, while the mullahs around the country, declaring Arif’s cartoon blasphemous, started burning copies of Prothom Alo.
In the interrogation cell the 1/11 detectives pressurized Arif to issue statements against Motiur Rahman and Mahfuz Anam with the aim to shut down Prothom Alo. But Arif adamantly stood on the side of truth, insisting that the said cartoon was his own idea and he was ready to accept responsibility if it was at all a crime.
Prothom Alo helped Arif with the legal consequences, but in the end it was his family and him that suffered from mental, physical and financial trauma. Today, Arif walks alone as a socially excommunicated artist, news papers refuse to publish his work and his mother lies in the hospital trying to fight death.
But Arif is not ready to accept defeat. He talks to E-Bangladesh about his resolve to fight the corrupt system with his cartoon grenades.