Mustafizur Rahman Chowdhury, a lawmaker from Chattogram-16 (Banshkhali), engaged in a heated altercation with journalists while submitting his nomination form for the upcoming national elections.
The fracas was sparked by a question about his alleged violations of the electoral code of conduct, prompting his followers to physically confront reporters.
The incident took place at the Chattogram deputy commissioner's office around 11:30 am on Thursday. Some journalists suffered minor injuries, and cameras and tripods from several television channels were damaged during the scuffle.
Upon entering his car, journalists requested Mustafizur to stop and talk. Instead, he pushed them away and drove off.
Mustafizur was accompanied by a group of around 15 ruling party leaders and activists when he came to submit nomination papers to Chattogram's returning officer, Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman.
A confrontation ensued when Independent TV journalist Rakib Uddin asked Mustafizur about potential violations of the electoral code of conduct. The question enraged the lawmaker, who responded with expletives, threats, and physical aggression. His followers joined in, pushing and shoving other journalists.
Recounting the incident, Rakib said, "Mustafizur Rahman came with more than five people to submit his nomination papers. He later confronted me when I asked him about breaches of the electoral code of conduct.”
"He looked ready to hit me and even threatened me. He then shoved me to the ground. After getting back up on my feet, his staff started pushing me from behind."
In protest, journalists gathered around Mustafizur's car, but he drove away, accompanied by his followers. Journalists then reported the incident to Deputy Commissioner Fakhruzzaman.
Chowdhury Farid, vice-president of Chattogram Press Club, expressed shock and condemned the incident.
"We were all shocked by the sudden act of aggression by a member of parliament. His men pushed us. They broke cameras and tripods. We wanted to go down and talk to him. He pushed us away. Some of us fell to the ground. We could have been hit by the car."
Deputy Commissioner Fakhruzzaman expressed regret over the incident and encouraged journalists to submit a written application for further action in line with election rules.
Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, who arrived later to submit his nomination form, apologised for the incident. "It's the job of journalists to see if the code of conduct is being followed and inform the public about it. As a member of the Awami League, I apologise."