Four journalists were beaten up allegedly by some Jubo League men, led by the son of Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif, in Pabna's Ishwardi yesterday afternoon. They were gathering information about the preparation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit there today.
The victims are Saikat Afroz, 35, Pabna correspondent of Somoy TV, Rizvi Joy, ATN News correspondent of the district, Partho Hasan, Pabna correspondent of DBC News, and ATN News cameraman Milon Hossain, 25.
The four were admitted to Pabna General Hospital. Of them, Saikat and Rizvi are undergoing treatment there.
Protesting the attack, journalists brought out a procession in Pabna town.
They then held a rally at Traffic Intersection and gave the local administration a 24-hour ultimatum for arresting the attackers, including land minister's son Shirhan Sherif Tomal, who is also the president of Ishwardi upazila unit of Jubo League.
Demanding resignation of the land minister, the journalists said they would not cover any news of the minister if his son was not punished.
“We went to Ishwardi for covering the story about the preparation on the occasion of prime minister's visit for inaugurating construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant," said injured Partho.
During the time, they were informed that the followers of Tomal were damaging banners and posters welcoming the PM hung by their rival groups at Natunhat intersection. They rushed to the spot and started recording footage of the incident, he added.
Seeing this, Tomal's supporters, in his presence, started beating them up with sticks and iron rods around 3:30pm, Partha alleged.
They also damaged two laptops, three mobile sets and two motorbikes, he added.
This correspondent could not reach Tomal for his comments after repeated attempts.
Land Minister Shamsur Rahman, also the lawmaker of Pabna-4 (Ishwardi-Atghoria), told journalists that if his son was found involved in the attack, he should be punished.
Talking to The Daily Star, former lawmaker of the constituency Panjab Ali Biswas alleged that supporters of the land minister and his son damaged his banners and posters. They also beat up his men, he said.
The attackers also assaulted men of another AL leader, Robiul Alam Budu, as they protested the incident.
Earlier, Tomal and 10 other AL men were arrested over attacking and vandalising the house of a Chhatra League leader in Ishwardi on May 19 this year. Later, they were released on bail.
Talking to this correspondent, Jihadul Kabir, superintendent of Pabna police, said they would take action against the attackers.