No probe into attacks on journalist in anti-Modi protests

Muktadir Rashid and Obaidur Rahman Sohan | Published: 00:42, Apr 10,2021


The police have neither identified any perpetrators of attacks on journalists nor initiated investigations into the attacks carried out during protests against Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.

Victim journalists alleged that they were beaten after giving their identities or showing press cards and many of them were mugged.

Police officials said that no investigation was initiated as none came up with complaints although at least two journalists filed a general diary and a case in Narayanganj and Brahmanbaria respectively.

According to media reports, about 40 journalists were attacked reportedly by activists of the Hefazat-e-Islam and the ruling Awami League and police members at places, including Dhaka, Brahmmanbaria, Narayanganj, in March 23–28. 

Ten journalists, who were attacked despite showing their ID cards, said that they filed no complaint with the police as they hardly believed that they would get justice.

In Brahmanbaria, five journalists, including district press club president Reaz Uddin Zami, were injured in the attack on the club reportedly by Hefazat activists on March 28.

Hefazat joint secretary general Mamunul Haque April 2 regretted the press club attack.

Reaz said that it was a targeted attack on him and he filed a case with the local police station on March 29 for the attack but none was arrested.

Brahmanbaria police superintendent Md Anisur Rahman said that they were trying to identify the attackers from those who were already arrested and who were identified in other cases as the complaint named none.

Private television News 24 reporter Mou Khandaker said that a group of people vandalised their car on Dhaka-Chattogram highway at Siddhirganj in Nayaranganj on March 28 during Hefazat-called general strike and poured patrol on the car and on her dress to set fire.

She said that she managed to escape the fire and filed a general diary with Siddhirganj police station.

Boishakhi television broadcaster Ashik Mahmud was beaten at the same place and on the same day.

‘The attackers mainly targeted my valuable. They continued hitting me until I released my wallet and mobile phone set,’ he said.

Photojournalist Hasan Raza said that they came under an attack by ruling party activists at Baitul Mukarram during a clash between the ruling party activists and protesters following Jumma prayers.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Motijheel zone deputy commissioner Syed Nurul Islam said that they launched no investigation as none filed any complaint.

A number of journalists alleged that Chhatra League supporters snatched away mobile phones, press identity cards and wallets from journalists and protesters at Dhaka University on March 25.

Daily Prothom Alo university correspondent Asif Hawlader was also severely injured during the attack on March 25. He said that the ruling party activists confirmed his identities, then assaulted and snatched his wallet, Tk 3,000 and press identity card.

Dhaka University unit Chhatra League general secretary Saddam Hossain said, ‘The attack on journalists is unexpected. We will take action if any of BCL activists are found involved in the attack.’

Dhaka University vice-chancellor Akhtaruzzaman said that the proctor’s office and law enforcement agencies were asked to prepare a report on the incidents and action would be taken as per the report.

Shahbagh Police Station officer-in-charge said that he was aware of the attack but no investigation was initiated ‘as none approached’ them.

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