News

July 13, 2021

Bangladeshi reporter badly beaten while investigating land seizure

Activists are seen protesting against local land grabbing in Southern Bangladesh, in April 2021. Selim Shamrat was investigating the same kind of issue when he was attacked on 11 July, 2021 (photo: The Third Pole).
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the police to quickly identify the men who attacked local newspaper reporter Selim Shamrat while he was investigating an illegal land seizure during the weekend in Barakhata, a rural area in the far north of Bangladesh next to the Indian border.

The regional newspaper Bahannor Alo’s correspondent in Barakhata (which is part of the Hatibandha subdistrict), Selim Shamrat was attacked at around 5 p.m. on 11 July, but was rescued by local residents who intervened to stop the assault.

 

Shamrat told the Daily Star newspaper that his assailants pushed him to the ground and beat him mercilessly. After being rescued he was taken to the Hatibandha medical centre for treatment to his injuries.

 

“We strongly condemn the unacceptable acts of violence against Selim Shamrat while he was performing his duty as a reporter,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We urge the Hatibandha police to do everything to find both the perpetrators and instigators of this attack and bring them to justice.”

 

According to initial police findings, the attack’s instigators were two brothers suspected of being behind the illegal land seizure that Shamrat was investigating. The police went to their home on the evening of 11 July to arrest them but they were not there. On the evening of 13 July, the suspects were still at large. 

 

Bangladesh is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.