In an unprovoked attack on newsmen, police yesterday beat up and detained two photojournalists of The Daily Star and the New Age when they were covering the opposition's hartal in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj.
Mamun Sirajul Haque, a sub-inspector of Siddhirganj Police Station, was closed to Narayanganj Police Lines for allegedly leading the attack.
The assaulted journalists are Amran Hossain, senior staff photographer of The Daily Star, and Sourav Laskar, staff photographer of the New Age.
Witnesses said the two went to Sanarpar in Siddhirganj around 11:30am by a CNG-run three-wheeler and saw a tyre was burning on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
Disembarking from the vehicle, Amran and Sourav took some photos of the burning tyre.
To their utter surprise, some police personnel led by Mamun reached the scene by a police van and started beating up the journalists for setting fire to the tyre.
The law enforcers repeatedly slapped, punched and kicked the duo, even after the newsmen produced their identity cards.
At one stage, the cops detained the two and dragged them by their collars into the van. They were taken to Shimrail intersection police box, some half a kilometre off the assault scene.
After reaching there, police took the detainees to separate rooms and again beat up the duo. They also took away the mobile phones of the journalists and smashed Sourav's camera.
From the police box, the detainees were taken to Siddhirganj Police Station and handed over to its OC, who later freed them.
Incensed, a group of journalists staged a sit-in before the Siddhirganj Police Station on the Narayanganj-Adamjee-Demra road.
Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Nazmul Alam arrived on the scene around 2:45pm and announced the SI's withdrawal, prompting the protesters to end the sit-in.
Amran and Sourav lodged a complaint with the police station against SI Mamun.
Meanwhile, leaders of Jatiya Press Club and Bangladesh Photo Journalists' Association (BPJA) in separate statements yesterday condemned the attack on the journalists.
Jatiya Press Club President Kamaluddin Sabuj and General Secretary Syed Abdal Ahmed expressed deep concern at the detention of the newsmen while performing their duties.
Acting president of BPJA Syed Zakir Hossain and general secretary Nuruddin Ahmed demanded the government mete out exemplary punishment to those involved in the incident.