Journalists barred from observing polling centres:
Journalists have been barred by police personnel from entering several polling stations in the capital.
Dhaka Tribune reporter Adil Shakhawat and photojournalist Syed Zakir Hossain reported from Mirza Abbas Women College polling centre that policemen did not allow journalists to enter the polling centre for first half an hour in the morning.
“We were also not allowed to enter Deep Shikha School at North Shajahanpur in the morning. On-duty police man said journalists were not allowed as per the presiding officer’s order,” said Adil.
When Dhaka Tribune reporter asked Hawa Bibi and Engrez Begum, two voters who came out of Deep Shikha School centre, they said they were not allowed to vote.
Adil further added that the same situation prevailed at all the polling centres of wards no 185-188 in the area.
Meanwhile, an Awami League-backed councillor candidate for Ward 9 allegedly harassed two female polling agents of BNP-backed candidate Mirza Abbas at Dilkusha Government Primary School.
Journalists were also barred from Dhaka University Laboratory School polling centre, another Tribune reporter Ibrahim Hossain Ovi reported.
The on-duty police officials said they have got direction from the police high ups that no camera would be allowed inside the polling centres.
However, there was no such direction from the Election Commission.
Journalists attacked by ruling party cadres:
It was reported by news media that journalists were subject to attacks by ruling party cadres in several places in Dhaka City North and South and in Chittagong City corporation elections. The attacks on the journalists were carried out during the collection of news, reporting and taking pictures during voting. News of six such separate attacks were gathered throughout the day. The injured journalists have stated that they were attacked while reporting the widespread instances of ballot boxes looting, vote rigging and the occupation of voting centres by the ruling party cadres.
Among the injured are Dainik Jugantar newspaper staff reporter Obaid Ongshuman and senior photo journalist Shameen Noor, Jamuna television camera person Akhlaq Safa, Ekattor television senior Reporter Azad Talukder and camera person Jahirul Islam and Prothom Alo reporter Sujoy Mohajon.
Dainik Jugantar newspaper staff reporter Obaid Ongshuman informed that he was in charge of gathering news from Sobujbagh area of the capital. At a time during voting, men of 5 no. ward Awami League supported candidate Ashrafuzzaman Fareed (Radio symbol) pounced upon supporters of an independent candidate Azad Mohammad Sadequl Islam in front of Ahmedabad High School premises. At one point, Fareed’s cadres went to the house of his opponent and began attacking the men there. After that Fareed’s men entered Kamalapur High School centre and stamped upon about 300 ballots in front of the police, who even helped the ruling party men in this regard. Obaid Ongshuman stated that when the men noticed him taking picture stills and video of the rigging incident, they attcked him and seized his camera equipment and mobile phone. He suffered severe injuries as the cadres attacked him on the street outside the polling centre with shouts of “Catch him! Catch him…”. His clothes were also pictured as torn in the attack.
On the other hand, Jamuna television camera person Akhlaq Safa was injured in an attack in front of Afroza Abbas, wife of mayoral candidate Mirza Abbas.
At 8:30 in the morning, Dainik Jugantar newspaper senior photo journalist Shameen Noor was attacked by Awami League cadres at Segunbagicha School centre. The attackers held him hostage for some time, before other photo journalists came to his rescue.
On the other hand, Ekattor television senior Reporter Azad Talukder and camera person Jahirul Islam were attacked by ruling party cadres at Halishohor KG and High school centre in Chittagong city, when they were reporting on clashes between opponents at 10 am.
Prothom Alo reporter Sujoy Mohajon was publicly attacked by cadres at Shahjahanpur Mahbub Ali Institute where he was investigating an incident of vote rigging. The attackers snatched his two mobile phones, ID card and Elections commission papers in the attack. It had been reported earlier that election officials had been held at the above said centre in order to allow mass vote rigging by hundreds of ruling party supporters.