It's collision, not torture
Police do not torture journalists. Sometimes, there may be some collision, which is normal, said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday.
"Thursday's incident was something like that … Police are now much better," he said, referring to beating of two journalists by police during the eight-hour shutdown enforced by the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports.
"If two friends walk side by side, they collide with each other," he said.
The minister made the remarks while replying to journalists at an event in Shamshernagar Railway Station area of Moulvibazar's Kamalganj.
Two journalists of ATN News -- Abdul Alim and Ishan Bin Didar-- were assaulted while covering the shutdown called for protesting the Rampal Power Plant, which the government plans to build, near the Sundarbans.
Alim needed three stitches on his right eyebrow and Ishan too took treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Ishan, who has been advised by doctors to remain in bed for about a month, said he was deeply upset by the home minister's comment.
"What is more shocking than being beaten up by police for no reason is the home minister's comment. Some slight push don't break people's bones, skulls or injure their spinal columns,” he said.
With a fractured bone in his leg, and blood clots on his left shoulder and back, Ishan said he could not move at all due to severe pain. On top of that, he complained of having visions of policemen beating him up whenever he dozed off.
The other journalist, Alim, also complained of being traumatised and suffering from severe back pain. "Doctors said they will perform some tests to see what was wrong with my back.”
Meanwhile, pro-shutdown activist Mizanur Rahman who was also beaten up by policemen during the hartal was bedridden because of pain all over his body.
"I thought I was going to die for sure when so many of them swooped on me and dragged me inside Shahbagh Police Station premises. I was lucky that an officer saw what was happening and asked his men to spare me,” he said.
A general diary was lodged over the police assault on two journalists.
In the complaint, it was mentioned that besides Assistant Sub-Inspector Ershad of Shahbagh Police Station, who was suspended for his alleged involvement in the assault, constables Mokhlesur, Hossain Kabir and Sobuj Khan and 10-12 other policemen were responsible for the incident, said a reporter of ATN News.
“Except Ershad, the other accused policemen are from Public Order Management Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. We have written to the division to take action against them,” said Maruf Hossain Sorder, deputy commissioner (Ramna division) of the DMP.
A three-member probe committee, led by additional deputy commissioner (Ramna division) of DMP Navid Kamal Shaibal, was formed following the incident. It would submit report within two working days.
Mosharraf Alam Siddique, deputy manager of ATN News, filed the complaint with Shahbagh police on Thursday night.
Several photographs of the police attack went viral on social media, sparking public outcry, demanding punishment of the policemen responsible.
Ain o Salish Kendra, a rights body, also condemned the assault yesterday.