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Journos to blockade Home Ministry on Tuesday demanding attackers’ arrest

  • Published at 11:15 pm August 27th, 2018
Unidentified men wielding metal rods and sharp weapons attack freelance photojournalist Rahat Karim while attempting to break his camera in Dhaka’s Science Laboratory area on Sunday, August 5, 2018 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

They allege that police are showing reluctance in identifying the attackers even though there are photos and videos

Journalists have decided to lay siege to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday, after their calls to the government to arrest those who assaulted journalists during the students’ road safety movement have failed to render any immediate action.

Shabaan Mahmood, secretary general of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), made the announcement on Monday, saying they would blockade the ministry office at 11am Tuesday.

During the demonstration, journalist leaders will also submit separate memorandums to the Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal to press home their demands for immediate arrest of the attackers, he said.

The journalists had previously planned to stage a sit-in demonstration in front of the Home Ministry on August 16, but that program was cancelled because of the death of senior journalist and Daily Samakal editor Golam Sarwar on August 13, and National Mourning Day on August 15. 

Shabaan said two other journalists’ platforms – the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) and the Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) – would take part in Tuesday’s demonstration as well. 

However, DRU General Secretary Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo said they may join the BFUJ protest, but had not made a decision yet. 

“But we express full solidarity with the (BFUJ) demonstration,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

The DRU leader earlier said the journalist leaders were constantly putting pressure on the high authorities of the government regarding the arrest of the attackers, but in vain.

Both Shabaan and Shuvo earlier told the Dhaka Tribune that police were showing reluctance in identifying the attackers even though there are photos and videos of showing them swooping on the media workers, published by several media outlets.

When contacted, DMP Additional Commissioner Abdul Baten said they were working to identify the attackers and had made significant progress. 

“When we identify the attackers, we will take appropriate action,” he said. “The media will also be duly informed.”

However, the DMP official did not clarify whether any case had been filed on the attacks on journalists, when asked. 

On August 7, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu urged Home Minister Kamal to take steps to identify the attackers and bring them to book. 

On August 9, DRU President Saiful Islam said the home minister could not avoid his responsibility as the goons, who had attacked on-duty media workers covering the student protests for safer roads, were roaming free.

On August 13, eight days after at least 23 journalists had been assaulted – some brutally beaten up – and their equipment vandalized by unidentified attackers while covering student protests in Dhaka, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Patwary said the Detective Branch (DB) of police were working on identifying the culprits.

Two days ago, DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said they were waiting for journalists to file cases over the attack – which was vehemently condemned by journalist leaders.

They said when several people were arrested on charges of spreading rumours during the movement; there was no issue of filing lawsuits. 

“But when it came to our colleagues being assaulted, we are being told to file cases,” Shabaan said.

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