A Bangladeshi journalist was assaulted by leaders and activists of radical Islamist organization Hefajat-e-Islam and forced to prove his Muslim identity when he was covering the violent protests that broke out in wake of PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh. The incident occurred on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Narayanganj city when the journalist was covering the protest in front of a madrasa.
Daily Sangbad Narayanganj correspondent Sourav Hossain Siam said Hefajat men forced him to recite Kalemas to prove his Muslim identity when he said his name is Sourav, and intensified their assault thinking that he was Hindu. Kalema or Kalima are fundamentals of Islam, encapsulated as six Islamic phrases often recited by Muslims.
Siam, who is also the information and technology affairs secretary of Prothom Alo Bandhushava in Naranyanganj, posted the harrowing experience on Facebook. Golam Rabbani Shimul, Narayanganj correspondent of Bangla daily Prothom Alo, also confirmed the matter.
Writing on Facebook, Siam wrote:
“Hefajat picketers engaged in violence against journalists all day on Sunday during the dawn-to-dusk hartal. I, Saurav Hossain Siam, was a victim of Hefajat’s attack myself. I had to prove my identity to them. I had to recite two Kalemas among four in front of them. I had to tell them how many Suras I have memorised. Fortunately they did not make me strip to see proof of my Muslim identity. If I was asked to do so, I would not have hesitated… It’s a lot that I could return alive.”
He was badly beaten up by Hefajat men and now in bed with severe pain, his post reads. Asked whether he would file any complaint, he said he would not do anything more than the status he posted on Facebook.
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