Youths breach security, intrude on Prothom Alo office

Youths breach security, intrude on Prothom Alo office

A group of youths aged between 25 and 35 breached the security and intruded on the daily Prothom Alo office in the capital’s Karwanbazar area on Monday evening, allegedly threatening its private security guards, shouting at its editor Matiur Rahman, and writing ‘boycott’ on the office’s reception wall.

The daily’s editor was present at his office on the first floor when the incident took place on the ground floor of the multi-storey building at about 8:00pm.

Mesba Ul Haque, a security guard at the reception, said that a number of four-five youths swooped on the office and threatened him.

‘I could not even make a call. I wanted to alert my seniors, but they resisted me. They started shouting at our senior management, they said that they would shut the daily and then wrote something on the wall and left the place. I was frightened by their activities,’ he told New Age.

Both the daily’s editor, Matiur Rahman, and executive editor, Sajjad Sharif, declined to comment on the incident when they were approached for comment.

One of the Prothom Alo employees, who witnessed the incident, said that the youths were hurling abusive words at the daily and its editor.

Sub-inspector Apurba Kumar Barman, Karwanbazar police box in-charge, said that they were present in front of the nearby CA Bhaban and rushed to the spot after hearing the incident.

‘We are not sure who the people intruded into the Prothom Alo office. We are collecting CCTV footage for investigation...,’ he said.

The police official said that they spoke to the management of the daily and insisted that they file a complaint with the Tejgaon police.

The incident took place some four hours after prime minister Sheikh Hasina came down heavily on the daily, saying that it is the enemy of her ruling Awami League, democracy, and the people of the country.

‘The name of the paper is Prothom Alo (first light), but it lives in darkness. Prothom Alo is the enemy of the Awami League, democracy, and the people of the country,’ she told the parliament.

The paper has been facing smear campaigns since March 26 when its news card on the Independence Day went viral with a quote of a day labour on the food price hikes.

Prothom Alo journalist Samsuzzaman Shams was arrested, and the daily’s editor, Matiur Rahman, was prosecuted in a case filed under the Digital Security Act with Ramna police station by an Awami Juba League leader on March 29.

He was released on bail a day after Matiur Rahman was granted anticipatory bail on April 2 for six weeks.

The arrest and prosecution under the DSA triggered nationwide protests, and the UN rights chief called on Bangladesh to stop application of the law until it was amended.