Amid the government's directives to law enforcers and the local administration not to do excesses with the general people, two photojournalists were physically assaulted by a policeman for taking photos of a campaign to prevent coronavirus transmission.
The victim - Shafin Ahmed of Dainik Desh Janapad and Nasir Uddin of Dainik Dakhiner Muk - said a policeman beat them up without any reasons while taking photos at Barisal University area on Friday evening.
Ratul, also the general secretary of Barishal Photojournalist Association, said a team led by Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mosharraf Hossain was conducting a campaign to raise awareness about coronavirus.
A policeman, wearing a mask and without an insignia, approached them and asked who they were. As soon as they said they were photojournalists, the policeman started beating them up.
Barishal Press Club President Manvendra Botbal and General Secretary SM Zakir Hossain condemned the incident and demanded punishment of the accused policeman.
Barishal Journalists' Union, National Daily Bureau Chief Association Barishal, Barishal Television Media Association, Barishal Electronics Media Journalists Association and Barishal Photojournalists Unity Council have also protested against the incident.
Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mosharraf Hossain lamented the incident and said he did not instruct police to beat the journalist.
Barishal Deputy Commissioner SM Ajiar Rahman said the administration will do everything to ensure the protection of journalists. He promised to take proper action against anyone responsible.
Barishal Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Shahabuddin Khan said police have been directed to behave well with everyone. "Misbehaving with anyone is not desirable," he said, adding that he had heard about the incident.
He said they would identify the accused policeman and punish him.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) was informed about the cases and the authorities permitted burial, the doctor added.
Jakir had been suffering from asthma for a long time, his family sources sad.
Six patients with symptoms of coronavirus were admitted to SBMC since last night. Doctors said the hospital lacks any equipment to test coronavirus.
Coronavirus, first reported in China in December last year, is affecting 199 countries and territories around the world and two international conveyances.
It has infected 663,741 people globally and killed 30,880 of them so far -- a mortality rate of 18 percent, according to Worldometer. But 142,183 of the patients have recovered while 490,678 are undergoing treatment. Of them, 25,207 patients are in critical condition.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 48 COVID-19 cases and five deaths. The country has tested 1,068 samples till date.