Vol. 4 Num 230 Sat. January 17, 2004  

More bodies condemn killing of Manik Saha

Various socio-political and professional organisations yesterday strongly condemned the killing of eminent journalist Manik Chandra Saha and demanded immediate arrest of and exemplary punishment to the killers.

Manik Saha, staff correspondent of the daily Sangbad, Khulna-based stringer of BBC and former president of Khulna Press Club, was killed in a bomb explosion in Khulna on Thursday.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based media rights watchdog, has called for immediate prosecution of the killers.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Manik Saha," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.

"We call on the authorities to pursue and prosecute Saha's killers to the fullest extent of the law," Cooper said in a statement.

The CPJ noted that Bangladesh is one of the most violent countries in the world for journalists, especially in rural areas where it has documented numerous attacks against journalists.

According to the CPJ research, Saha, 45, was the third journalist to be murdered in the Khulna region in the last four years.

Harunur Rashid, a reporter for the daily Purbanchal, was shot and killed by gunmen on March 2, 2002, and Nahar Ali, a correspondent for the Khulna-based daily Anirban, died as a result of injuries sustained after being beaten by unknown assailants on April 21, 2001.

However, no one has been charged in either case, CPJ noted.

In another statement, Khetmajur Union President Abdus Sattar and General Secretary Saiful Haque said Manik had fought relentlessly against crimes.

Chairman of Islami Parishad Bangladesh Abdul Ahad Noor called on the government to ensure security of the journalists so that they can carry out their professional duties smoothly.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Huq Inu and General Secretary Zafar Sazzad said the killing of Manik Saha was a stark indication of deterioration in law and order situation.

Members of Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association took out a protest rally and called for social unity so that no more journalists become victims of criminals.

Manik Saha, an eminent social worker, dedicated his life to making Khulna free from crimes and corruption, said Sushashoner Jonnya Nagorik, a civil society group.

President of Bangladesh Manabadhikar Samannoy Parishad Nasrin Sultana and Executive Director Anwarul Azim said in a joint statement that killings in the hands of criminals one after another was utterly tragic and disquieting.

Terming Manik Saha a brilliant journalist and human rights activist, Parbatya Chattagram Jansanghati Samity (PCJSS) said his murder once again points out that there is no security of life and property for commonman.

Rashed Khan Menon, Muzahidul Islam, Saifuddin Ahmed Manik and other leaders of the 11-Party expressed their solidarity with the hartal called by journalists in Khulna.

Narayanganj Press Club declared a three-day programme to protest the killing.

The Human Rights and Environmental Journalists Association, Centre for Women Journalists and Bangladesh Krishak Sramik mukti Andolon also condemned the killing.

Bangladesh Christian Association, Bangladesh Chhatra League, Dhaka south, Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Parishad also protested the killing of Manik saha.

In Khagrachhari, local journalists took out a silent procession and held a protest rally, demanding protection of press freedom and security of life.

Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association took out a procession in the city yesterday protesting the killing of journalist Manik Saha. PHOTO: STAR