At least five journalists were assaulted while they were doing their duty in covering the Dhaka city elections 2020 on Saturday.
Awami League and Bangladesh Chhatra League activists allegedly attacked them in the Mohammadpur, Nukunja, Madartek and Faridabad areas of the capital.
The assaulted journalists include Nurul Amin, Ibrahim Sarker, Mostafizur Rahman Sumon, Sheikh Hasan and Mahabub Momtaji.
Nurul Amin is a staff reporter of The Business Standard, and Ibrahim Sarker is a special correspondent at the Photo Bangla Agency (PBA).
Mostafizur Rahman Sumon is a crime reporter in the online news portal Agami News, Sheikh Hasan is the chief photographer of Kaler Kantha and Mahabub Momtaji is a staff reporter of Bangladesh Pratidin.
On Saturday morning, a group of activists of an Awami League-nominated councillor candidate reportedly attacked Mostafizur Rahman Sumon at the Zafrabad High School polling centre in Mohammadpur. The polling centre is in ward-34 under Dhaka North City Corporation.
Md Hossain Khokon (Polls-symbol: Tiffin Carrier) from Awami League and Rajesh Khan (Symbol: Sheaf of Paddy) from Bangladesh Nationalist Party vied for the councillor post in the ward.
Several witnesses said a group of Khokon's activists were moving around with weapons in front of the polling centre, and Sumon was taking pictures of them.
One of Khokon's followers hit Sumon on the head with a sharp weapon and snatched away his mobile phone, according to witnesses and fellow journalists.
Sumon was first rushed to the Sikder Medical College Hospital and later transferred to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
He had to get six stitches on his head and was barely able to speak, said Inspector Bachchu Mia, the officer-in-charge of the Dhaka Medical Collge Hospital Police Outpost.
Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary instructed his officials to take action over the incident without delay. He inspected the Banani Bidya Niketon School and College polling centre in the afternoon.
In another incident, activists of Awami League-backed councillor candidate Md Jahangir Hossain (Pulling Cart) allegedly attacked the chief photographer of the Kaler Kantha, Sheikh Hasan, at a polling centre at Madartek in the capital, and snatched away a memory card of his camera.
Around 10:30am, the special correspondent of PBA, Ibrahim Sarker, was beaten up at the Nikunja Jan-e-Alam School polling centre. The photojournalist was taken to the Apollo Hospitals with serious injuries.
At the Faridabad madrasa polling centre in Old Dhaka, a group of Chhatra League activists allegedly assaulted The Business Standard's Staff Reporter Nurul Amin and Bangladesh Pratidin's Staff Reporter Mahabub Momtaji.
The two journalists were collecting information about irregularities during polling at the centre.
The Chhatra League activists seized their mobile phones and deleted important files saved in the handsets.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdul Hannan rushed to the spot and rescued the journalists and retrieved their phones.
Mahabub said, "They (attackers) confined us for one-and-a-half hours, assaulted us and took our mobile phones."
Benazir Ahmed, director general of the Rapid Action Battalion, said they will take action against the people who attacked the journalists.
"We are trying to identify the attackers through CCTV footage. We will take action once they are identified," he said.