Dying for writing the truth
'The Durjoy Bangla' office was almost empty
when he came out a few minutes after 11 pm. As always he caught
a Sherpur bound bus at 11.30. It took him about 30 minutes.
At the Sherpur bus stand he sat down at a local restaurant
to have a cup of tea before heading for home, which was some
200 yards away. When he was within 15 yards of his home an
unspecified number of assailants, apparently waiting for him
under the cover of darkness, attacked him with a sharp machete.
The first blow directed toward the lower part of his neck
almost separated his head, which was very loosely joined by
the skin of his throat. He hadn't time even to let out a cry
for help. A loaf of bread was clasped tightly in his left
hand and the handbag in his right. 55-year old Deepankar Chakrabarty,
Executive Editor of a Bogra based Bangla daily The Dainik
Durjoy, was known as a courageous, unassuming man.
had been a constant struggle for him both in the home front
as well as in his professional front. The only earning member
of his family he employed all his energy and effort to bring
up his two sons -- Partha Sarothi Chakrabarty and Anirudha
Chakrabarty. But, as luck would have it, he died when their
long nourished hope was close to being realised. The elder
son had recently completed his Honours and the younger son
Anirudha Chakrabarty had been working in a local newspaper
for two months. What hurts his wife Anjana and two sons most
is that he had never known comfort in his life, and after
a life of intense struggle fighting against want and all sorts
of adversity when it was time for him to retire, his life
was so brutally cut short.
sudden gruesome death has left this family devastated, in
a state great shock. His wife Anjana has fallen sick, her
grief is inconsolable: " we have been together struggling
and suffering through all these 30 years, but when our good
days are near he has left me. How will I be happy without
him?" The elder son sobs while talking to newsmen, "I
asked him what I would buy him with my first month's salary.
A khaddar punjabi was all he wanted," he struggles
hard to check his tears, but cannot.
a week since Deepankar's murder the police are still clueless
as to who committed this heinous crime. Well behaved, honest
and friendly Deepankar had no enemies whatsoever, claims his
family members, relatives and colleagues. So, it has to be
something with his writing. Some suspect his courageous role
as a journalist for recovering the historical Bhabani temple's
500 bigha of land might have made him the target of those
who were arbitrarily occupying that land. It is widely believed
that his murder was carried out by underground extremist groups
who have been active in this area for a long time.
death of this senior journalist is much more than a family
tragedy. He was a fearless journalist who, unlike many other
people in the same profession, didn't compromise with the
values and ethics he upheld both as a man and as a journalist.
He paid the price with his life.
he is not the only journalist to have been so mercilessly
killed for doing his professional duties honestly. In fact
he is the last of the seven journalists who have been killed
in the different parts of the country over the last three
years. The list of journalists who have suffered serious physical
tortures is very long -- about 119 journalists only in greater
Barisal over the last three years, according to a report of
the Bangla daily Bhorer Kagoj.
not a single case has so far been resolved. In many cases
the murders were committed by well known local thugs in broad
day light, but the perpetrators move around freely. In many
cases the investigation has not even taken off, sometimes
intentionally delayed and diverted to different directions
to save the murderers. Sometimes when the police are somehow
forced to pursue a particular case the real criminals are
left out of the final chargesheet because the criminals have
money or political influence. Things have come to such an
impasse that the victim's family members have not lodged any
case with the police station because they know they won't
has become many times difficult and potentially more dangerous
in different district towns than in Dhaka. The hundreds of
journalists who work for different local newspapers or as
district correspondence of different national dailies are
often working in the face of extreme adversities, sometimes
risking their lives. And they do this all for a very minimal
remuneration. Their committiment to their profession is almost
never recognised. The government and society in general must
ensure minimum security for these noble individuals so that
they may continue the pursuit of truth without fearing for
(R) thedailystar.net 2004