2 journos among 27 hurt as BCL attacks anti-Modi protesters

Dhaka, Mar 26 – Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men on Thursday evening attacked anti-Modi protesters at the Dhaka University (DU) campus following a torch procession by a group under the banner of Progressive Student Alliance against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Dhaka visit. The incident took place in front of the university vice-chancellor’s house at around 7:45 pm. At least 25 protesters and two journalists were injured during the attack.
Prothom Alo’s DU correspondent Asif Hawlader came under attack as he went to the university’s VC Chattar to gather news.
“I went there to collect the news. Suddenly, 10-15 BCL men attacked me. I lost consciousness as they hit me on the head,” Asif said. “They also snatched my bag, Tk3,000 and press card.”
Earlier at 5:30 pm, another journalist, Abid Hasan Rasel of Bangla Tribune, came under attack at TSC while performing his professional duties.
“People of Bangladesh,” a citizens’ platform, arranged a programme named “Jeyafat” at that time protesting Modi’s upcoming visit.
As the protesters were about the start their programme, some BCL leaders and activists beat them up, and snatched their banners, the witnesses said.
Abid was at the spot to cover the programme. The BCL men swooped down on Abid as he started recording the video of the BCL attack on protesters.
The journalist is now undergoing treatment at Dhaka University Medical Centre.
The Socialists Students’ Front DU chapter President Salman Siddique said at least 25 protesters were injured by BCL men.
“We were standing in front of the vice-chancellor’s house. Suddenly, BCL activists attacked us with bamboo sticks, stamps and bricks,” Salman said.
BCL President Al Nahian Khan Joy could not be reached for comments till the filing of this report.
However, BCL General Secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee said, “The incident is unexpected. We are yet to identify the attackers and will take proper action after finding them.”
Earlier, the procession started with 300 protesters from TSC at 6:30 pm and ended in front of Ruqayyah Hall.
During the procession, the protesters chanted: “Go back Modi, go back to India,” “Butcher of Gujarat, go back to Gujarat,” “My name’s Felani, Modi’s not welcome.”
The protesters also demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the BCL activists who carried out an attack on their demonstration on Tuesday, when at least 20 anti-Modi protesters from different left-leaning student bodies and five photojournalists were injured as BCL men carried out an attack on a demonstration against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit on March 26. – UNB