A group of journalists have reportedly been attacked by police during unrest between Awami League and BNP factions amid the polls for the Supreme Court Bar Association.
The incident occurred on the Supreme Court premises on Wednesday.
“The two sides were involved in a commotion,” said Md Shahidullah, deputy commissioner of Ramna Division Police. “Police attempted to break it up, but we heard that journalists got caught up in the turmoil. It was not intentional, but we are making inquiries and looking into the incident.”
The chief justice and the law minister have assured the Law Reporters Forum that the matter will be investigated properly.
The polls for the bar council were slated to start at 10 am on Wednesday, but were delayed due to the unrest.
About 10-12 members of the media were trying to cover the conflict between the Awami League and BNP-allied lawyers when they came under attack from the police, said Ashutosh Sarkar, president of the Law Reporters Forum. One of the victims was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for first aid.
“Meanwhile, we have spoken to the chief justice on behalf of the law forum. He said these kinds of incidents are unacceptable. He recommended that we submit a written complaint and gave assurances that it would be looked into.”
A petition has been sent to the Supreme Court registrar general for a meeting and the law minister was informed of the incident over the phone.
TV reporter Zahid Hossain wrote on Facebook that Javed Akhtar, a senior ATN News reporter, had been the victim of a vicious police attack as he attempted to cover the Supreme Court Bar Association election. Jannatul Ferdous Tanvi, a senior reporter at Independent TV, was injured trying to help him.
“I was lucky enough to be spared,” he wrote. “I was standing next to a pillar when police suddenly turned violent. They blew their whistles and charged with batons, or beat people with bare hands. Before we could figure out what was going on, my cameraman was pulled away and taken outside the premises.
He continued: "Afterwards, wherever I looked, people were injured. The cameraman for Boishakhi TV had his entire shirt torn open during the beating. Some had broken fingers, others had been kicked with boots. Police attacked Nur Mohammad of Ajker Potrika, Kabir Hossain of Kalbela, and Mehedi Hassan Dalim of The Dhaka Post. Fazluk Haque Mridha of Jago News was also injured.”