Bangladesh: 30 journos attacked in Dhaka ahead of polls

  25 December 2018    Read: 1100
Bangladesh: 30 journos attacked in Dhaka ahead of polls

Four days ahead of the parliamentary elections, at least 10 journalists were wounded in an attack in the Bangladeshi capital, according to the victims on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports. 

The incident took place on Monday night when a group of mask-wearing attackers raided a local hotel in capital Dhaka, which was hosting 30 journalists for the election coverage.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mizan Malik, investigation editor of the local daily Jugantor, said that nearly 40 people -- wearing masks, wielding iron rods and hockey sticks -- attacked the journalists at the hotel rooms.

Among the injured, Malik said the attackers also vandalized 16 vehicles of the journalists, including of Jamuna tv, a private broadcaster of Bangladesh.

“We know for whom you come here. You instantly leave here,” an attacker shouted when raided the hotel, said Malik.

Both of the media institutions are owned by the husband of Salma Islam, a parliament member who runs for the elections as an independent candidate from Nawabganj area.

Arch rival of Islam is Salman F Rahman, a candidate of ruling Awami League party. Rahman is also the political advisor of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Apurba Alauddin, a Jamuna tv journalist, told Anadolu Agency that they informed the local police against any undesirable incident when the ruling party candidate set up an election tent at the ground floor of the hotel on Monday.

The local police officer Golam Mostafa said they are investigating the incident.

Independent candidate Islam called for immediate identification and exemplary punishment for the attackers to create a convenient electoral environment.

The elections will be held on Dec. 30 amid increasing violence across the country and grave concerns from the political circles that the country's election commission unable to ensure level playing field. 

Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed told Anadolu Agency that they did not receive any complaint yet about the attack on journalists.

"On receiving a complaint we will order local administration to take action," he said. 

Saiful Alam, president of Bangladesh’s National Press Club, told Anadolu Agency that it was a coward attack on media.

Since the formal electoral campaign began on Dec. 10, Bangladesh has witnessed gross violence in different parts of the country.

It left hundreds of supporters, mostly backing the opposition alliance, injured. Dozens of opposition candidates were also attacked allegedly by ruling party supporters backed by the police forces.

Despite the military deployment across the country on Monday, the unrest prevails in Bangladesh.

At least two people were killed, over 50 sustained wounds in separate attacks targeting election campaigns nationwide yesterday. Vehicles of some heavyweight opposition candidates were also vandalized.

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