20 journalists hurt in cop attack at Ctg stadium
April 16, 2006
The Daily Star
Cricket took a back seat on the opening day of the second Test between Bangladesh and Australia as police swung into an uncalled for action against the on-duty journalists, injuring at least 20 media-men of different national dailies and satellite televisions at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium yesterday.
Of the injured, Anurup Titu of Dainik Purbokon was admitted with a serious head injury to the Royal Hospital and underwent a surgery after CT scan in the afternoon. His condition was learned to be critical.
Two more journalists, Ruhul Amin Rana of Jai Jai Din and Rabi Shankar of Ajker Kagoj were also wounded and were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Trouble brewed in the morning when in an unprecedented incident in international cricket the start of play was delayed by ten minutes due to a sit-in protest by on-duty journalists in the middle of the ground for merciless beating of fellow photojournalist Shamsul Haq Tanku of Bengali daily Prothom Alo.
However, that incident at the entrance of the stadium in the morning was only the tip of the iceberg.
Scenes of pandemonium enveloped the field of play during the lunch break as the police led by DC (Port) Ali Akbar set themselves upon journalists, who were demanding unconditional apology from Sergeant Anwar -- the man in uniform responsible for beating up Tanku in the morning.
The assault for a second time started as Akbar suddenly punched veteran photojournalist Jahirul Haque on his face and kicked him continually. As Jahirul fell down on the ground, the cops became more furious and launched a full-scale attack on the reporters and photographers present there.
The situation turned so scary that the journalists ran into the Bangladesh dressing room for safety where the members of the cricket team provided them with first aid and tried to console them in any way possible. Australian captain Ricky Ponting also expressed his sympathy while video-taping the injured journalist in what was for him a unique incident.
Interestingly during the ugly episode no Bangladesh Cricket Board high officials including the media committee chairman Riazuddin-al Mamun or general secretary Mahbubul Anam were present. BCB president Ali Asghar claimed that he only heard about the incident in the afternoon and assured that the culprits would be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, protesting the police attack, the journalists at a meeting at the Chittagong Press Club decided to boycott the coverage of the cricket match today (Monday). The boycott will continue until the perpetrators are punished accordingly.
Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association, Bangladesh Sports Writers Association, Bangladesh Sports Journalists and Writers Community, Bangladesh Photo Journalists Association, former national cricket captains, Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh and former Cricket Board directors condemned the incident.
The full fury of the law enforcers during the lunch break not only embarrassed the whole nation but also cast a gloomy prospect for the port city to hold any future international matches.