Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the beatings which nine photographers with national daily newspapers received from members of Bangladesh’s National Security Intelligence (NSI) yesterday in Dhaka. All of the photographers were injured, three of them seriously.
"This use of violence is a scandalous and inexcusable violation of press freedom," the organisation said. "How can intelligence agents assume the right to beat up journalists with complete impunity, while police look on with amusement. We urge the Bangladeshi authorities to restore order in their security services, which have clearly forgotten what their duties are supposed to be."
The injured photographers are Mir Ahmed Miru of Janakantha, Anisur Rahman of the Daily Star, Wahid Hassan Raja of Bhorer Kagoj, A.K.M. Musa of Sangram, Masud Parvez Milon of the Financial Express, Hasanuzzaman Tarun, Enamul Kabir and Sheikh Mamun of Janakantha and Mohammad Sharif of Naya Digonto.
The violence began when Kabir tried to take photos of graffiti on the outside of the NSI building denouncing government corruption. Intelligence agents dragged him inside and gave him a beating. Learning of this, the other newspaper photographers rushed to NSI headquarters where they too were beaten by NSI staff.
Passers-by, rickshaw drivers and street vendors tried to help the photographers while police, who had arrived in two police vans, looked on without intervening. "We asked the police to help us, but they took no notice and just laughed," said Rahman, who was one of the two to receive the most serious injuries. The other two were Raja and Miru. All three were hospitalised.