Attacks on the journalists while doing their professional duties, students protesting for safe roads and arrest of renowned photographer Shahidul Alam: ASK protests and expresses grave concern.

Attacks on Journalists and Protesting Students Demanding Road-Safety and Arrest of Renowned Photographer Shahidul Alam: Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) Expresses Grave Concern and Protest
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) expresses grave concern, condemnation, protest and anger over the attacks and torture by the law enforcing agencies and by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BAL) activists on the protesting students demanding road-safety, and along with the beating of journalists by the Chhatra League activists, the arrest of renowned photographer Shahidul Alam on the allegation of posting about road-safety movements on the social media Facebook.
According to media reports, on 02 August in Mirpur and on 04 August in Dhanmondi and Jigatala areas of the Dhaka City, a group of youths chased and attacked the protesting students with sticks, iron-rods and bamboo-sticks, who were carrying out a movement on the streets for better road safety. Numerous students were severely injured in these incidents. While performing their professional duty and collecting news about the protest movement, a number of journalists and photojournalists were also attacked, where the attackers thrashed their cameras and forced them to destroy the pictures and recorded videos. According to students’ statements, even though the police were present in the spot while they were being attacked, instead of protecting them, the police sided with the attackers and attacked the innocent school students. According to various mass media and social media reports and statements by student victims of the attacks, the perpetrators were the members and activists of pro-government student body Chhatra League and Jubo League. During the ongoing movement, on 05 August, students from Dhaka Medical College, BUET and Dhaka University joined the peaceful protests of the school and colleges’ students in front of Science Laboratory, and together brought out a procession marching towards Jigatala. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrations in Jigatala. According to media reports, Chhatra League activists of Dhaka College wearing Helmets, chased and attacked the students and mercilessly beat them up. At that time, the Chhatra League activists had also prevented the journalists from carrying out their professional duties and threatened them not to take any pictures or record videos of the attacks. During this time, 7 to 8 journalists and photographers were seriously injured while the Chhatra League activists hit them with sticks and iron-rods. On the other hand, on the night of 05 August, renowned photographer Shahidul Alam was abducted from his home by men who identified themselves as police from Detective Branch (DB). His family is making allegations that he was detained mainly because of his interview in international media as well as taking and publishing pictures and videos of attacks on the protesting students.
Against such incidences, ASK clearly states that peaceful protest, congregation, expression of one’s opinion and registering demands are the constitutional rights of every citizen as well as an indivisible part of fundamental human rights. Attacks on the school going students and adolescents, who were carrying out a just and peaceful protest movement for ‘Safe Roads’, are condemnable. ASK thinks that, in the name of subduing peaceful movement, the disgraceful attacks and beatings of the journalists by the law enforcing forces and the student wing of government party, , have created serious concern, anxiety and a sense of extreme insecurity. ASK fervently demands proper and immediate investigation of the attacks to identify the attackers and bring the perpetrators to justice as well as ensure the safety and security of the protesting students. Besides, ASK also demands immediate release of the renowned photographer Shahidul Alam.