A team from Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association was harassed today by aides of a local councillor when they went on a field visit in Lake City residential area of Chattogram where hills were razed for a housing project.
The team along with journalists first visited the housing project and later visited Kalirichara Khal, a waterbody filled up by grabbers. A group of youths started to follow Bela's Chief Executive Sayeda Rizwana Hasan and at point started quizzing her.
Some minutes later, Ward 9 Councillor Jahurul Alam Jashim appeared on the scene along with his men. He also started questioning Rizwana, said Bela officials.
Rizwana said, "Due to their aggressive behaviour, we were forced to postpone our visit and leave the spot. While we were waiting for our vehicle, some youths were seen roaming with arms. They blocked our driver while he was coming to pick us up.
"They freed our driver after we informed the police. When we boarded our microbus, they started chasing us and pelted stones targeting the vehicle," she claimed.
AKM Mohiuddin Selim, assistant commissioner (Pahartali Zone), said, "A group of local youths cordoned off Rizwana's vehicle during their visit."
On information, police rushed to the spot and escorted the Bela team. "We will take legal action if anyone files a complaint in this regard," Selim said.
Contacted, Councillor Jashim said he was at his farmhouse during the incident. "I don't know who carried out the attack."
According to locals, the allegation of hill cutting and land grabbing is not new against Councillor Jashim, who is also the joint convener of Uttar Pahartali ward Awami League.