Local journalist Kamal Hossain tied to a tree and tortured in Tahirpur upazila, Sunamganj
Photo taken from video

A local journalist in Sunamganj, Kamal Hossain, was beaten up and tied to a tree for taking pictures of illegal sand extraction from the bank of a river in Tahirpur upazila of Sunamganj. His face, head, forehead and other parts of his body were severely wounded. The incident took place at noon, Monday, in Ghagtia of ​​Jadukata river in Badaghat union of Tahirpur upazila.

Kamal Hossain is currently undergoing treatment at Tahirpur upazila health complex. He is the Tahirpur upazila correspondent of Daily Sangbad and Daily Shubho Pratidin published from Sylhet.

This Prothom Alo correspondent received a copy of the video of Kamal Hossain being tortured. The video shows him crying out while tied to a tree. He was surrounded by several people and blood was dripping from his forehead. He was begging in the name of Allah to loosen the knot around his wrists, but the people around him were laughing.

Sunamganj district correspondent of Sangbad, Latifur Rahman, said Kamal Hossain worked for several local dailies including Sangbad. Latifur Rahman was looking into the reasons behind the incident.

Talking to the police, family members and the locals, it was revealed that Kamal Hossain went to the area to collect information regarding the illegal sand extraction from the banks of the Jadukata river. he took photographs of the river banks being excavated. Some people reportedly grabbed him and started to beat him up. Kamal was severely injured. Later, the people took him to the nearby Chawkbazar area where they tied him to a tree with a rope. At around 2:30pm, on hearing the news, another local journalist and the family members of Kamal Hossain went to the place with the police from Badaghat police outpost. He was rescued and admitted to Tahirpur upazila health complex.

While undergoing treatment at the health complex, the victim told Prothom Alo over the phone that he took some pictures of extracting sand from the river. Later, he was talking to the locals at a nearby shop. Then Mahmudul Islam, Deen Islam and Rais Uddin of Ghagtia village came and started to beat him up indiscriminately. They struck him with a cleaver ('da') on his forehead. Later, he was tied to a tree.

Kamal Hossain said that while beating him up, the people said the sand extraction was always stopped whenever journalists reported about this and so they would kill him. They will manage the consequences later, they said. They also took away his camera and mobile phone.

Mahmud Ali Shah of Ghagtia village said, the sand extraction from the river is officially closed. However the poor people and day labourers of the area make a living by collecting sand with baskets. He claimed that Kamal went there and demanded Tk 30,000 from the people involved in sand extraction. He said he will manage the police and the administration. Kamal even said the people that they will not be able to do this works without giving him the money. At one stage of the argument, the workers beat him up.

Mahmudul Islam, the officer-in-charge (OC) of Badaghat police outpost in Tahirpur upazila, said that on hearing the news police rushed to the spot and rescued Kamal Hossain. Later he was handed over to his family. Police will investigate the incident and try to find the reason behind this.