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Journalist brutally attacked

(Media Watch/IFEX) - 20 May 2012 - Unidentified assailants hacked the right arm of a journalist on Govt Edward College campus, in Pabna northern district town, on 19 May 2012. The victim, ABM Fazlur Rahman, 48, staff reporter of the daily Samakal, was allegedly attacked for reporting on an obscene dance performance on the campus. He has been undergoing treatment at the Pabna Medical College Hospital.

The attack on the newsman came only four days after Abdullah Al Mamun, zonal correspondent of the daily Kaler Kantho, was beaten in public in Bera upazila of Pabna by a nephew of the State Minister for Home Affairs, Shamsul Hoque Tuku. The correspondent was targeted for publishing a report on alleged corruption by Tuku's relatives in the tender process of TR (test relief) and Food for Work (Kabikha) programmes.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Fazlur said an anonymous caller rang him around 11:00am on 19 May and asked him to go to the college campus so that he could collect information about irregularities in the institution. As he arrived near the teachers' mess on the campus, about four assailants attacked him with machetes. They badly hacked Fazlur's right arm and left. A local whisked the injured journalist to the hospital.

Aggrieved local journalists staged demonstrations at the Pabna Press Club. They also stopped State Minister Tuku, who was on an official visit, at the Janata Bank intersection and demanded immediate action against the assailants. Tuku assured the agitating newsmen that immediate steps would be taken to bring the culprits to book.

Fazlur complained of receiving threats over the phone for publishing reports on an obscene dance performance during a cultural programme on the campus on May 9.

"Last week many newspapers published the news, prompting the college authority to form an enquiry committee to probe the allegation," said Fazlur.

Contacted, college Principal Dr Naid Shamsul Huda said they have formed a committee headed by the general secretary of the teachers' association. The authorities will take action if the probe finds anybody guilty, he added. Meanwhile, journalist leaders condemned the attack on Fazlur Rahman and demanded exemplary punishment for the attackers.

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