Witnesses say the two journalists, who are campus correspondents, were severely beaten by members of Chhatra League
At least 20 people, including two journalists, were injured when Chhatra League men reportedly carried out multiple attacks on anti-Modi protesters at Dhaka University (DU) on Thursday afternoon.
The injured journalists have been identified as Asif Hawladar of Prothom Alo and Abid Hasan Rasel of Bangla Tribune. Both of them are university correspondents.
According to eyewitnesses, the two were severely beaten by Chhatra League leaders and activists with sticks.
Rasel’s phone and press card were snatched away by the Chhatra League men. He was later taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for treatment.
Our DMCH correspondent reports that 14 people who got injured in the series of attacks are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile, repeated attempts were made to reach the ruling party student wing President Al Nahiyan Khan Joy and Secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee for comments but they did not pick up their phones.
Earlier in the day, leaders and activists of the Chhatra League allegedly attacked Abid while he was covering a “Jeyafat” (mass meal) program under the banner People of Bangladesh, at the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) area around 5:30pm.
Chhatra League men, witnesses said, beat him severely with bamboo sticks, and also snatched away his mobile phone and press card.
The ruling party’s student front leaders and activists are also accused of pouncing on a vigil of leftist students two hours later. This happened when the students reached the university vice-chancellor’s residence via Central Shaheed Minar after launching the vigil from the TSC area.
Prothom Alo’s DU correspondent Asif said the Chhatra League men swooped on the students before they ended their procession.
“As soon as I started filming the incident, some Chhatra League men all of a sudden started beating me,” he told the newspaper, adding that he had also witnessed the attack on Abid.
“Maybe that also provoked them into attacking me,” he suspects.
Asif received four stitches on his head at DMCH and was being moved to Labaid Hospital around 10pm.
Meanwhile, Al Kaderi Joy, convener of the Progressive Students' Alliance, condemned the attack on his fellow students and said the injured were being treated at DMCH.
Dhaka Tribune repeatedly tried to reach DU VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman over the phone for his comments on the attacks, but in vain.
Also, earlier in the morning, more than 20 people, including seven law enforcers, were injured and 32 were detained in a clash between the police and demonstrators in Dhaka's Motijheel area, over the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian premier is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Friday morning on a two-day state visit to attend mega celebrations marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh's independence.