The ruling party’s student wing shifts the blame to BNP and Jamaat
Brushing off allegations, Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Kushtia district unit has claimed that its leaders and activists were not involved in the attack on Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of the Bangla newspaper Daily Amar Desh, on the court premises.
The unit’s President Yasir Arafat Tushar made the statement at a press briefing held at a restaurant in Kushtia town on Tuesday.
Tushar is also the plaintiff of the defamation case in which Mahmudur had gone to the Kushtia court building and secured permanent bail on Sunday.
He, however, could not exit the court premises for several hours initially as it was surrounded by the slogan-shouting activists of ruling Awami League’s student wing.
Mahmudur came under attack after he came out of the court building around 4pm. His car was also heavily vandalized. The journalist, however, survived the assault with injuries.
After photos of his bloodied state spread on social media and were reported in news media, many organizations of journalists started protesting across the country, including Dhaka.
Tushar on Tuesday claimed he was at the court premises with other Chhatra League men till 3pm on Sunday. “We then left because of bad weather. But later we learned that some masked miscreants attacked Mahmudur Rahman and vandalized his car when he was leaving the court.
“Chhatra League was not involved in that incident.”
He alleged that BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami men had framed Chhatra League for this attack because of political rivalry.
“Chhatra League men never attack while hiding their faces under gamuchas (light towel),” Tushar said.
The district unit’s General Secretary Saad Ahmed also accused the rival parties of carrying out the attack.
Both of them, however, urged the authorities to find those involved in the assault and bring them to book.
Tushar had filed the case against Mahmudur at Kushtia’s Additional Judicial Magistrate’s Court on December 10 last year for making derogatory remarks about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and her niece, Tulip Siddiq.
CPFR, AFAD condemn attack
Meanwhile, the Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights (CPFR) and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) on Tuesday strongly condemned the attack on Mahmudur Rahman and expressed their concern.
In a statement, signed by its Chairperson Khurram Parvez and Secretary General Mary Aileen Die Bacalso, AFAD said the attack was indicative of the “escalating intolerance of the Bangladesh government towards the opposition and dissenters.”
It alleged that such an incident on the court premises in the presence of police “proved a dysfunctional justice delivery administration and politicised law enforcement in action.”
Strongly criticizing the attack on Mahmudur, AFAD also urged the government to take action against the assaulters, lift the curbs on freedom of expression, association and assembly in the country and allow democracy to flourish without any restraint.
CPFR in a statement expressed frustration over the incident, which, it said, also portrayed the misrule, deteriorated state of rule of law and failure of the government institutions.
The organization said this attack had raised questions about the safety and legal shields of those with different opinions.
Mentioning it was aware of the charges against Mahmudur over several controversial issues, CPFR said the attack on him was tantamount to human rights violation as the journalist had surrendered to court.
It also urged the authorities to catch the assaulters and punish them, adding that they thought the judiciary could play a role in this as human rights were violated.
The 16 signatories of the CPFR statement included lawyers, different rights activists, writers and teachers.