Journalist leaders come out of a court room at the High Court in the capital on Wednesday. Photo: TV grab
Judges of a High Court bench left their courtroom today when several lawyers hurled abusive words at journalists leading to a scuffle during the hearing of a contempt of court rule against two Bangla dailies.
The pandemonium took place around 11:00am when the court was hearing a rule against Samakal and Naya Diganta for publishing a joint statement issued by the president and the general secretary of Dhaka Reporters Unity on a sub-judice matter.
The court proceedings resumed nearly after an hour at the office room of the HC.
The bench exonerated all the six journalists made respondents in the contempt of court rule from personal appearance.
It all started when the six journalists including Shahed Chowdhury and Elias Khan, president and general secretary of Dhaka Reporters Unity, appeared before the bench complying with its March 9 summons to explain their statement over Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud's arguments in a contempt of court case filed against Mizanur Rahman, joint editor of Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
After the hearing began, some lawyers tried to drive out journalists, including the leaders of Jatiya Press Club, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and Dhaka Union of Journalists, from the courtroom.
"Some lawyers could not accept the presence of journalists there. So, they tried to force them out," said Saleh Uddin, president of Law Reporters' Forum.
Some junior lawyers hurled abusive words (we are not publishing the words) inside the courtroom, triggering protest by the journalists.
Some from both the groups locked in a scuffle.
Both the judges of the bench -- Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed -- left the courtroom this time.
Meantime, a number of journalists and lawyers, who were standing outside the courtroom during the hearing, also engaged in altercation and hurled abusive words at each other.
Later, police rushed to the court and brought the situation under control in half an hour.
The journalists later gathered in front of the main gate of the court building after the law enforcers and senior journalists requested both the groups to calm down.
An hour later, the judges resumed the trial proceedings at the office of Justice Naima Haider.
The court exonerated all the journalists from personal appearance during the proceedings from now on.
The HC summoned seven journalists before it today in connection with the contempt of court rule.
Five other journalists who were summoned are: MM Jasim, president of Dhaka University Journalists Association, and its general secretary Saddam Hossain; Abdur Rahman, the president of Barisal Division Journalists Association; Kazi Mobarak Hossain, the president of Jagannath University Journalists' Association, and its general secretary M Sujaul Islam.