More than 20 on duty journalists were attacked and left injured allegedly by ruling party cadres in Dhanmondi, Dhaka on Sunday
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu has urged Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal to identify and bring to book those who attacked on-duty journalists in Dhaka during the student movement for safer roads.
He made the call in a letter sent to the home minister on Tuesday, reports UNB.
In the letter, the information minister said a number of journalists were injured in the attacks.
"Such attacks on journalists while performing their professional duties are unfortunate, when it's known to all that the incumbent government is always sincere about ensuring the safety of the journalists," he wrote.
"I'm seeking your (Kamal’s) personal intervention in bringing the attackers under the purview of law after extensively considering the issue of journalists being injured while gathering news in recent times.”
Inu also said that the Home Ministry's efforts to maintain the law and order in the country were laudable.
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Officials at the Home Ministry have also confirmed receiving the information minister’s letter and said the ministry would direct the law enforcement agencies to take proper action in this regard.
More than 20 journalists, including at least seven photojournalists, were attacked and left injured, some of them critically, by unruly youths in the capital’s Jigatola and Science Laboratory areas on Sunday while covering the student protests.
Witnesses claimed the attackers, who were carrying sharp weapons, sticks and metal rods, were ruling party cadres who apparently had joined forces with law enforcement officials deployed to maintain law and order.
Talking to reporters at the Secretariat earlier in the day, the information minister also said that action would be taken against those responsible.
Regarding the letter, he said that the home minister had assured them already about taking steps.
Responding to a query, Inu said they had collected the photos of the attackers and the law enforcement agencies were working on identifying them.
He said that they were also trying to identify those attempting to take advantage of the students’ movement for political gains.
US embassy, UN statements ‘unfortunate’
The information minister on Tuesday also brushed off the statements issued by the United States embassy and United Nations office in Dhaka about the recent attacks on students demanding safe roads, saying those did not portray the real picture.
"The US embassy's statement is unfortunate as it did not portray what actually happened in Dhaka. We reject the statement and urge them to withdraw it," he said.
Inu claimed: "There was no incident of suppression through brutal attacks on students during their movement and there is no such report in the media too. The students had gathered in different parts of the city and no attack was carried out on them.”
He added that such statement was tantamount to poking the nose into the internal affairs of Bangladesh and it was devoid of courtesy.
The US Embassy in Dhaka in a statement on Sunday said: "Nothing can justify the brutal attacks and violence over the weekend against the thousands of young people who have been peacefully exercising their democratic rights in supporting a safer Bangladesh."
The same day, the UN also urgently called upon all parties to keep everyone – including children and young people – safe on the roads and safe from any kind of violence.
"UN agencies are increasingly concerned for the safety of children and young people caught up in recent protests over road safety in Dhaka and other parts of the country," it said.
The information minister termed the UN statement “unprecedented” and “unwarranted,” saying it was not right.
He urged both the UN office and the US embassy to refrain from issuing such statements.