A group of journalists representing national and regional media have come under attack while gathering information about the alleged illegal occupation of the historic house of late Ramnath Biswas, a noted globetrotter and travelogue writer, in Habiganj’s Baniachong Upazila.
Among the victims were bdnews24.com’s Special Assignment Editor Rajib Nur, Baniachong correspondent of vernacular national daily Kaler Kantho Moshahed Mia, Baniachong correspondent of Habiganj Samachar Touhid Mia and Baniachong correspondent of Deshseba newspaper Alamgir Reza.
According to the victims, the occupier Wahed Mia and his family members carried out the attack in front of the house of Biswas, at union No. 2 under the Upazila on Sunday afternoon.
The injured in the attack were treated at Baniachong Upazila Health Complex. Rajib said preparations for filing a case are underway at Baniachong Police Station.
Habiganj Additional Superintendent of Police Palash Ranjan Dey said they were notified about the incident and will take legal action.
Describing the incident, Rajib said the altercation began when he took a picture of the property from outside.
“Our group’s Moshahed introduced himself and us and exchanged greetings with Wahed. At that point, I took a picture of the property, which irked Wahed and he demanded an explanation as to why I had taken the picture.
“While I was explaining the purpose of the picture, suddenly Wahed’s son Walid, whom we had identified later, along with some other locals arrived at the spot and snatched my phone from my hand and started beating us with sticks,” he said.
Rajib said the attackers seemed to be particularly angry at Habiganj Samachar’s Touhid and Deshseba’s Alamgir as the duo were assaulted more than the other two.
Neither Wahed nor his family was immediately available for comment on the attack.
Wahed, however, had always maintained that he purchased the property, a claim categorically disputed by the local union council panel Chairman Haidaruzzaman Khan.
“Wahed and his family have been occupying the historic house for a while and multiple attempts at making them leave the property went in vain,” he said.
Ramnath Biswas independently travelled around the world on a bicycle between 1931 and 1940. He had recorded his travel experiences in Africa and the US in 30 books, all written in Bangla.
He was born on Jan 13, 1894, in Vidyabhushanpara under the present Baniachong Upazila, back when Habiganj was a part of greater Assam, and died in Kolkata on Nov 1, 1955.