A report in the The Washington Post stated that the picture was clicked in the Dhaka University campus – something rare in an environment otherwise roiled by violence and protest incidents. Three conservative students were suspended this month for allegedly assaulting two students for holding hands.
The report further stated that majority of people in Muslim-dominated Bangladesh thought that the photo was “indecent”. 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.”
Ahmed — who said the couple did not object to the photograph, taken on a public street — said he will not tolerate being a victim of moral policing, telling the website that a “twisted sense of morality cannot dictate an artist’s work.”
He said in an interview with The Washington Post that he was scouting for photographs near the teacher-student center at the university Monday when he saw a couple “lip kissing” in the rain, a moment that filled him with delight. He captured the moment in one click and sent it to his newsroom but was disappointed when his editors decided not to run the photo, saying it would prompt a negative response.
“I said, no, you cannot portray this photo negatively, because I found it a symbol of pure love,” said Ahmed, 30. He later posted it on his Instagram and Facebook accounts, where in an hour it had been shared 5,000 times.
The next day, he said, some of his fellow photographers roughed him up, and on Wednesday, his boss asked him to turn in his ID and laptop, without giving him a reason. But his editor said that when Ahmed told his employers about the attack, they supported him and vowed to take legal action.
“The couple had a spontaneous lip kiss; I found nothing wrong in them or no obscenity,” Ahmed said. “Of course I am disheartened. Some people in our country became educated only in papers, but they are not educated in a real sense. They failed to realize the underlying meaning of my photograph. I am also a bit worried about myself.”