A picture posted by Bangladeshi photojournalist Jibon Ahmed on Monday, which showed a couple kissing in the rain in front of Dhaka University’s Teachers and Students’ Centre, has set off a shocking chain of events. The picture, which was posted on Monday, invited severe backlash online and even reportedly leading to an assault on the photographer.
While the viral picture meant to highlight the sentiment of “letting love be free”, some people perceived it as obscene, reportedly claiming that the picture promoted rape culture, even encouraging women to explore their sexuality and leave their homes.
However, online backlash was the least of Ahmed’s problems. According to a Kaler Kantho report, Ahmed was assaulted by unidentified fellow photojournalists on Tuesday for having “tainted the profession by capturing such photo”. Others also claimed that the picture violated the couple’s privacy, even though Ahmed says that the couple was aware that their picture was being clicked and did not raise any objection, Kaler Kantho reported.
A social media post from Wednesday also claimed that Ahmed had been fired from his job at the news portal ‘Purbapashchimbd’. Ahmed remained unavailable for comment.
A few days before the incident, ruling party cadres assaulted senior students at the Dhaka University merely for holding hands, Dhaka Tribune reported. Following the reports of assault, a flurry of support for Ahmed emerged on social media.
This picture taken from TSC, DU today by Jibon Ahmed and this is real Bangladesh. Islami fundamentalism will be destroy from our country by such kind of love n practice….Love u Bangladesh… pic.twitter.com/15zUkfaeGR
— Nuruzzaman Labu (@labu8080) July 23, 2018
Shocking to see the outrage against this photograph and physical assault on the photographer. We should kiss everywhere and we should kiss often. Let’s fight back. One kiss at a time! #kiss #Bangladesh #viral #TSC #moralpolice #photography #jibonahmed https://t.co/1U3rfmYG39
— Shehzeen Choudhury (@ShehzeenSays) July 25, 2018
Ahmed had also faced criticism back in 2015 after he photographed the lethal assault on Bangladeshi-American writer Avijit Roy and his wife by Islamist militants after he wrote a blog on religious orthodoxy in Islam.