Vol. 5 Num 670 Tue. April 18, 2006  

Reporters shun Test for the second day

Shocked, insulted and disgruntled sports journalists held meetings and discussions all day yesterday with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and police high-ups in Chittagong as the newsmen boycotted the second Test match between Australia and Bangladesh at the Divisional Stadium for the second consecutive day.

A decision was also reached late last night that the boycott would go on for the third day today, which is also the third day of the Test match.

BCB officials Aziz Al Kaiser Tito, Rafiqul Islam Babu, Zahid Hossain were sent to the port city by board president Ali Asghar as his representatives. Dastagir Chowdhury, the venue co-ordinator was also present in the meeting.

An eight-member committee at the meeting represented the journalists where they pressed a nine-point demand in light of this unprecedented incident.

The journalists called for full security at all grounds. They demanded the correct description of the incident including the modification of the claim that the journalists were trying to spoil the match. The journalists wanted the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) to amend the press note it issued after the incident on Sunday.

They also wanted the BCB to condemn the police brutalities and an investigation and punishment of CMP DC (Port) Ali Akbar and Sergeant Anwar.

The journalists doubted the role of the BCB officials as most of them were absent during the incident. The president left for Abu Dhabi to witness matches between India and Pakistan, while the general secretary Mahbubul Anam, reported to have arrived in Dhaka yesterday, was completely out of the scene. The absences were significant as the journalists felt betrayed and disgusted by the police actions.

Compensation of destroyed cameras and medical costs should also be paid fully by the cricket board, the journalists pressed. However, all these demands were agreed upon by the BCB officials present at the meeting.

It was known that as per the existing rules the police generally do not have the authority to enter the ground as they did so casually on Sunday. As to who issued the order is a complete mystery to all.

But there were some consolations as Bangladesh players, including captain Habibul Bashar, visited the injured journalists and offered them moral support.