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Feb 13

Media on Jamaat-Shibir violence on 12.02.13

Well, 12.02.13 was a violent day in Bangladesh, mainly due to the clashes between Jamaat-Shibir supporters and the police.This was evident in the media which published the news. However the polarity in the media was alarming, given the current political scenario in Bangladesh. Left wing and pro government media portrayed a violent picture of Jamaat-Shibir activists beating up cops while pro-opposition media portrayed a picture of police oppression.
Plain clothes men opening fire on unarmed Shibir protesters
The media were unified in their reports on the following facts:
1. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Monday refused Jamaat-e-Islami permission to stage a rally on Tuesday at the north gate of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka. This has been agreed to by all news agencies as the reason for Jamaat-Shibir to hold flash processions.
2. Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui said on Tuesday that a bill seeking a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing would be placed in the current parliament in line with the demand of the ongoing nationwide mass movement. This news has also been agreed by all news agencies.
 
These are the facts that all media did not agree on:
1. Jamaat Shibir took out processions at Kawran Bazaar and Motijheel among places. bdnews24.com said that Jamaat Shibir engaged in vandalism straighaway, and police fired in self defense when they were attacked. Daily Star has also claimed that Jamaat shibir activists suddenly attacked the police at Kawran Bazaar. Prothom Alo has also purported this view.   rtnn.net has claimed that police first attacked the peaceful Jamaat Shibir processions. This view has been supported by both Amar desh and Naya diganta
2. bdnews24.com has claimed that jamaat shibir had opened fire, but only as part of the headline “Jamaat-shibir men lob bombs, open fire”, but did not make any concrete claims that they possessed firearms.  Daily Star claimed they had firearms, saying “The Jamaat-Shibir men, some brandishing guns, also vandalised at least 20 vehicles on Panthapath.” and “The Jamaat-Shibir men then rushed towards Panthapath and Green Road areas opening blank shots.” bdnews24.com spoke about them “blasting bombs” while Daily star talked of  “handmade bombs,  machetes and brickbats”. No mention of any fire arms used by Shibir was reported by Prothom alo, Amardesh, Naya diganta or rtnn.net. All were unanimous in saying that the Jamaat Shibir activists used sticks, bricks and cocktails.
3. The Daily Star or Prothom alo did not report about any Awami League procession in the area. rtnn.net reported an Awami League procession in the Motijheel area at front of Agrani Bank at 13:50 with sharp weapons and hockey sticks. bdnews24 also reported a procession saying, “Awami League supporters rallied in the area after the blasts.”
4. All news agencies reported the attack on the car of Matiur Rahman, editor of Prothom alo. He was with Professor Anisuzzaman. Daily star, Prothom alo and bdnews24 suggested that the car was vandalised in the midst of the clashes. rtnn.net however, claims that the car’s windshield was punctured by a police bullet, which broke and caused injuries to the hand of the editor.
5.   Bdnews24 claims that “some Jamaat-e-Islami supporters torched a microbus in front of daily Naya Diganta office and press at Motijheel soon after the trouble in Karwan Bazar.”, adding later that “The Naya Diganta owners blamed pro-government Bangladesh Chhatra League for the arson.”. Daily star offered a neutral narrative saying that ,” group of 20 to 25 people set fire to a microbus of daily Naya Diganta on the newspaper office premises.”, adding later that witnesses said they were BCL men. Naya Diganta, rtnn.net and Amar desh claimed that they were BCL men who had taken a procession to the Naya Diganta office and vandalised it with slogans of ‘Joy bangla, Joy Bangabandhu’.
6. Naya Diganta, Amardesh and rtnn.net reported that around 15 Jamaat-Shibir men had been wounded by gunshots fired by police. No such incident was reported by Prothom Alo, Daily Star or bdnews24.com. The agencies varied in their reports of the arrested numbers.
7. rtnn.net had initially claimed the death of a Shibir activist, Yakub Ali, citing shibir sources. However it had not been able to confirm his death as of around ten o clock on 12.02.13
 
A gunshot wounded Shibir activist being carried away by police