Guards of a commercial building assaulted the Bengali daily Kaler Kantho’s Rajshahi’s bureau chief Rafiqul Islam at the New Market area in the city yesterday.
Police arrested five guards of the building named “Omor Theme Plaza” after Rafiqul accused them in a case filed with Boalia Police Station.
The accused attacked Rafiqul while he parked his motorcycle on the footpath in front of the building, police said.
Journalist leaders, however, claimed the incident was more serious.
In a joint statement, Rajshahi Union of Journalists President Kazi Shahed and General Secretary Tanjimul Haque demanded that law enforcers investigate whether the attack was pre-planned and an attempt on Rafiqul’s life.
They said Rafiqul wrote more than one report against the owner of the building -- lawmaker Omor Faruk Chowdhury -- in last one week.
The lawmaker, meanwhile, apologised over the attack.
“It is very unfortunate that it [the attack] happened; it was beyond my knowledge,” Chowdhury, an MP from Rajshahi-1 constituency, told The Daily Star.
The lawmaker said he saw the attack on CCTV footage and had talks with Rafiqul. He said he dismissed the guards from their jobs.
Rafiqul Islam said, one of the guards started hurling abuse at him as soon as he parked his motorcycle on the footpath, far from the building’s main entrance. The guard started beating him when he protested, Rafiqul added.
Later, other guards joined in beating him with sticks. He ended up with bruises on the right side of his head, right hand and left leg.
Locals and journalists who rushed to the scene, upon hearing the news, rescued him and took him to Seroil Police Outpost nearby.
Police arrested the guards -- Sayeed Ali, 28; Jamal Hossain Munna, 27; Abdul Hakim, 48; Nahid Hasan, 20; and Sany, 22.
“Some of the guards knew me. One of them once threatened me of dire consequences for writing against the lawmaker,” Rafiqul said.
After the arrest, local businessmen said the guards often misbehaved with and beat up people for parking anywhere near the building.
Rajshahi Press Club, Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club, and Rajshahi Television Reporters Association issued separate statements expressing concern over the attack. They demanded exemplary punishment against the attackers.