Monday, February 13, 2012

Bangladesh TV journalist couple brutally murdered

Journalists threaten to take to the streets if the killers of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi are not arrested immediately in line with the home minister's promise. Photo: Safin Ahmed/Demotix
SALEEM SAMAD

A YOUNG journalists couple was cruelly murdered by unknown assailants in their apartment in the small hours in the weekend in the capital Dhaka, sparking widespread protest prompting authorities to issue orders for an investigation.

The couple’s five year-old son Megh informed her grandmother at 7:00 am on Saturday that two assailants killed his parents and he was locked inside a room. Police found Sagar Sarowar, news editor of private Maasranga TV both his hands and feet tied and his wife Meheren Runi, special correspondent of private ATN Bangla TV channel lying dead in a pool of blood.

Police security has been deployed to protect the only child who had survived the gruesome murder of his parents.

Sarowar returned to Bangladesh in 2011 after a few years stint with Deutsche Welle in Germany as a broadcaster.

The motive of the killing is unknown and police have yet to determine whether it is related to their work.

Chief Coroner at a state hospital said after the autopsy, Sarowar and Runi were hacked to death and had bore scores of stab wounds in their bodies.

Police detectives and intelligence agencies jointly launched a massive man-hunt ever in the history of Bangladesh and is desperately looking for clues.

Detectives and anti-crime agencies after two days is yet to make any progress in resolving the mystery of the most talked about murder story of the popular television journalists.

The police chief Hassan Mahmood Khandaker on Monday was evasive when crime reporters asked him barrages of questions regarding the progress of the investigation and whether the suspects have been nabbed. He, however, said there was significant progress and would not disclose any information for the sake of investigation.

Earlier the grieved journo leaders at a rally in front of the National Press Club on Sunday has set a 24 hours deadline, otherwise they threatened to boycott press coverage of the Home Affairs minister Sahara Khatoon.

Bangladesh is among the worst nations in the world in combating deadly anti-press violence. Bangladesh ranks 11th on New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population. Twelve journalists have been murdered in reprisal for their work in Bangladesh since 1992.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow, is an award winning investigative reporter based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic extremism, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. He was detained, tortured in 2002 and later expelled in 2004 for whistle-blowing of the safe sanctuaries of the Jihadist leaders in Bangladesh who fled during Anglo-US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Ending his life in exile from Canada he has recently returned home after six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com