A staffer of Khan Brothers Slipways and Engineering Works yesterday threatened a reporter of The Daily Star with “consequences” for reporting on grabbing of the Meghna in Munshiganj’s Gazaria upazila by the private dockyard.
The incident happened during an eviction drive by the BIWTA at the under-construction dockyard at Char Betagi.
“Now you will realise the consequences of your reporting,” said the man who refused to give his name and designation.
However, a photojournalist of this newspaper captured the man on camera.
In a veiled threat, the staffer said, “We can close down a newspaper like The Daily Star which is not even read by the prime minister.”
The man issued the threats in the presence of a mobile court, which was carrying out the drive, the BIWTA chairman and other officials.
He claimed that Khan Brothers obtained clearance from the Department of Environment for the dockyard, but he did not say anything about having a river foreshore licence, a document mandatory for the construction of the dockyard and a couple of slipways.
Asked by the reporter for a copy of an approval, the man said, “You are not from an authority. Why should we give it to you?”
The reporter, who recently wrote several reports on grabbing of the Meghna by some influential businesses, asked the man either to send a rejoinder to any news report or take legal actions if he thought The Daily Star did anything wrong by running any report.
But the staffer continued behaving offensively.
Magistrate Mostafizur Rahman of the mobile court said he sent policemen to save the reporter from the man’s wrath.
“I was observing the situation. Hearing the man threatening the reporter, I stopped there and sent policemen sensing that a law and order situation may arise,” said the magistrate.
Despite making attempts, The Daily Star could not reach Khan Brothers authorities over the phone for comments on the incident.