Vol. 4 Num 276 Sun. March 07, 2004  
Front Page

Azad's Health
Family blasts Disinformation

The family of Humayun Azad yesterday alleged a 'vested quarter' was spreading disinformation that the condition of the prominent writer improved remarkably and he could walk and read newspapers.

"We don't know why some quarters are spreading the false news that my father can walk when he is not strong enough sit up," said Smita, the daughter of Azad.

Azad, also a professor of Bangla at Dhaka University and author of over 50 books, is being treated at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for head, jaw and shoulder injuries he suffered in a machete attack near Bangla Academy on February 27.

"It's true his health has improved a bit and he can now take liquid food, but he's too weak to walk. But some people are trying to give people the false impression that he can walk," Smita said referring to some photographs sent by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) to the press that show Azad sitting in a chair with some newspapers lying before him.

In the photos, Azad is flanked by his wife Latifa Kohinoor, daughters Mouli and Smita and son Anonnyo.

"They [ISPR] asked us to pose for a family photo and clicked quickly. We didn't know they were going to send the photographs to newspapers," Smita said.

"The photos and disinformation are aimed at telling people that his condition has improved significantly what isn't true," she observed.

"My father's has to labour a lot to utter a few words. He cannot bear the strain of thinking for long and is yet to rise from bed and sit up himself. We alone get a few of his laboured words.

"Why does someone want to say a man can walk with assistance when he can't even sit up on his own?" she wondered.

An ISPR bulletin circulated at 11:00am yesterday claimed Azad could sit and walk with assistance.

Quoting yesterday morning's review by a medical board comprising senior specialists of the armed forces, the ISPR said his condition improved further and he was conscious, orientated to time and space and could communicate verbally.

"His pulse, temperature, respiration and blood pressure are within acceptable limits. He is getting liquid food orally. His overall condition is improving but further intensive care is needed," the ISPR bulletin read.

Azad's family also protested news carried by yesterday's newspapers that he asked to know the situation of Dhaka University and read newspaper.

"The truth is that I took newspapers in his room Friday to see whether he can read. But he failed, as he didn't have his spectacles and was yet to regain enough strength to read," Kohinoor said.

"As he is gradually becoming orientated to time and space, he wants to know news and we read out news headlines to him," she said.

Asked to comment on the allegations of the writer's family, ISPR Director Lt Col Nazrul Islam said: "We took the photographs as some people asked for them with family members."

The ISPR did not give any wrong information in the photo captions and had no covert intention, he added.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police that is probing the case could not make any headway until yesterday. The CID sought the CMH authorities' permission to talk to Dr Azad, which was turned down.

The wife and children of Humayun Azad, on chair, try to cheer up the prominent writer at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka yesterday.. PHOTO: ISPR