JANUARY 15, 2004
Updated: November 4, 2004
Manik Saha, New Age
Saha, a veteran journalist and press freedom activist, was targeted
and killed in a bomb attack in the southwestern city of Khulna.
Saha, a correspondent with the daily New Age and a contributor
to the BBC's Bengali-language service, was on his way home from the Khulna
Press Club by rickshaw when unidentified assailants stopped his vehicle
and threw a bomb at Saha's head, according to local journalists. The bomb
detonated, and decapitated the 45-year-old, killing him instantly, according
to The Associated Press. The assailants fled the scene.
Police have launched an investigation into the murder and suspect that
members of the region's outlawed Maoist guerrilla groups may be responsible
for the attack, according to the online edition of The New Nation
newspaper. On the day of Saha's murder, an underground leftist group,
Janajuddha (People's War), a faction of the Purbo Banglar Communist Party,
claimed responsibility for the killing in letters faxed to local news
organizations. More than five months later, on June 20, police charged
12 people in connection with Saha's murder. But local journalists say
that those responsible for organizing the attack have not been arrested
and doubt that they will be brought to justice.
A former reporter with the daily Sangbad, Saha had 20 years of
journalism experience and was known for his bold reporting on the Khulna
region's criminal gangs, drug traffickers, and Maoist insurgents, said
local journalists. According to these sources, in recent days, Saha felt
that he was increasingly in danger of attack in reprisal for his reporting.
They said that he told colleagues that he had received several death threats
that he suspected may have come from criminal gangs.
Saha, who was active in Bangladesh's press freedom community, was the
former president of the Khulna Press Club and worked closely with the
Bangladesh Center for Development, Journalism and Communication, a local
press freedom group.
Police charged 13 alleged Maoists insurgents with Saha's murder in June,
although only four were in police custody. A trial began in September.
Two suspects, leaders of the Janajuddha faction, died in separate shootouts
with police in late August. Authorities also accused the two dead suspects,
Altaf Hossain and Imam Sarder, in the murder of Humayun Kabir, an editor
from Khulna who died in a violent attack in June, according to local news
JANUARY 22, 2004
Posted: February 2, 2004
Mizanur Rahman, Janakantha
Kalyan Banarjee, Prothom Alo
Suvash Chowdhury, Bhorer Kagoj
Ram Krishna, Jugantar
Shahin Goldar, Khabor Patra
Kazi Dulal, Gramer Kagoj
Abul Kalam, Purbanchal
Abdul Bari, Dinkal
M. Raju, Sangbad
The leader of the Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), an outlawed Maoist
group, sent a threatening letter to the Satkhira Press Club, a city near
Khulna in southwestern Bangladesh. In the letter, PBCP leader Gaffar Tushar
threatened to kill nine local correspondents unless they stopped writing
about the murder of journalist Manik Saha, according to local journalists.
The journalists named in the letter were: Mizanur Rahman, of the daily
Janakantha; Kalyan Banarjee, of the daily Prothom Alo; Suvash
Chowdhury, of the daily Bhorer Kagoj; Ram Krishna, of the daily
Jugantar; Shahin Goldar, of the daily Khabor Patra; Kazi Dulal,
of the daily Gramer Kagoj; Abul Kalam, of the daily Purbanchal;
Abdul Bari, of the daily Dinkal; and M. Raju, of the daily Sangbad.
Saha, a veteran journalist and correspondent for the daily New Age,
was killed in a bomb attack in Khulna on January 15. In a letter faxed
to local newspapers in Khulna on January 16, Tusher claimed responsibility
for Saha's murder. In the days before the murder, Saha had received several
anonymous death threats, and he had reported on the PBCP's illegal activities.
In the January 22 letter to the Satkhira Press Club, Tusher threatened
to murder the nine journalists listed in a similar fashion. "Now guerrillas
of my party will kill you by throwing bombs at you in broad daylight,"
threatened the PBCP leader, according to local journalists.
All of the nine journalists are local reporters for national newspapers,
and they have all written about the criminal activities of the PBCP.
FEBRUARY 7, 2004
Posted: February 12, 2004
Zahangir Alam Akash, Dainik Sangbad
Samir Kumar Dey, Jugantor
Hasan Millat, Sonali Sangbad
Prashanta Saha, Upachar
Zabid Apu, Jugantor
Anwar Ali, The Daily Star
Anu Mustafa, Prothom Alo
Saidur Rahman, Bhorer Kagoj
Abu Saleh Fatteh, Channel I
Selim Jahangir, Janakantha
A letter containing death threats from Janajuddha (People’s War),
a faction of the Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), arrived at the
Metropolitan Press Club in the northwestern city of Rajshahi. The letter
threatened the following 11 journalists: Akash, staff reporter of the
daily Dainik Sangbad; Dey, local correspondent of the daily Jugantor;
Millat, editor of the local daily Sonali Sangbad; Saha, assistant
editor of the local daily Upachar; Anisuzzaman (who goes by one
name), staff correspondent of the national daily Janakantha; Apu,
photojournalist with the daily Jugantor; Ali, staff correspondent
with national English-language daily The Daily Star; Mustafa, local
correspondent with the daily Prothom Alo; Rahman, a local correspondent
for the daily Bhorer Kagoj; Fatteh, of private television Channel
I; and Jahangir, a photojournalist with Janakantha.
The letter called the journalists "associates of class enemies" because
of their reporting on the PBCP and threatened to kill them all by the
end of February by shooting, bombing, or hacking them to death, said local
Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club General Secretary Hasan Millat filed
a complaint with local police, who posted officers at the press club,
according to The Daily Star.
According to news reports, in the letter, the PBCP Janajuddha faction
claimed responsibility for the January 15 murder of veteran journalist
Manik Saha, who was killed in the southwestern city of Khulna, which,
like Rajshahi, is located along the Indian border where outlawed groups,
such as PBCP, are reported to conduct criminal activities.
Saha, a correspondent for the daily New Age and a stringer for
the BBC, was murdered when unidentified assailants threw a homemade bomb
at him while he was riding home in a rickshaw. On January 16, a letter
signed by the leader of Janajuddha, Gaffar Tusher, was faxed to local
newspapers in Khulna claiming responsibility for Saha’s murder. Saha had
recently received death threats and had reported on the PBCP’s illegal
Journalists were outraged by Saha’s brutal murder and staged protests
and strikes around the country calling for the apprehension of his killers.
On January 22, Tusher sent another letter to the press club in Satkhira,
a city near Khulna, threatening to murder nine other journalists in a
similar fashion. "Now guerrillas of my party will kill you by throwing
bombs at you in broad daylight," Tusher threatened, according to local
The nine journalists threatened in Satkhira were Mizanur Rahman, of the
daily Janakantha; Kalyan Banarjee, of the daily Prothom Alo;
Suvash Chowdhury, of the daily Bhorer Kagoj; Ram Krishna, of the
daily Jugantar; Shahin Goldar, of the daily Khabor Patra;
Kazi Dulal, of the daily Gramer Kagoj; Abul Kalam, of the daily
Purbanchal; Abdul Bari, of the daily Dinkal; and M. Raju, of
the daily Sangbad.
MARCH 2, 2004
Posted: March 4, 2004
Firoz Chowdhury, Prothom Alo
Mainul Hossain Chowdhury, Ajker Kagoj
While covering a violent student demonstration at Dhaka University, Firoz
Chowdhury, the chief photographer of the popular Bangladesh-language daily
Prothom Alo, was attacked by activists with the ruling Bangladesh
Nationalist Party's student wing, the Jatiyatabi Chhatra Dhal (JCD). Police
beat Mainul Hossain Chowdhury (no relation), with the Bangladesh-language
daily Ajker Kagoj, even after he identified himself as a reporter.
The demonstration was sparked by the February 27 knife attack on Dhaka
University professor and writer Humayun Azad. According to local journalists,
the police used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, and JCD activists
attacked the student protesters.
When the activists noticed Firoz Chowdhury taking their photo, a group
of as many as 15 JCD members surrounded Chowdhury, attacking him, and
smashing his digital camera, Chowdhury told CPJ. Chowdhury was hospitalized
at Dhaka's Shamrita Hospital with wounds on his back, shoulders, and chest.
Mainul Hossain Chowdhury, who was beaten by police, received treatment
for a fractured leg and a head injury, according to local journalists.
Witnesses from the scene told CPJ that as many as six or seven other journalists
were wounded in the attack. According to the Dhaka-based Daily Star,
as many as 100 students were also injured in the attack.
In a meeting with Bangladesh's Home Minister, members of a CPJ delegation,
who are traveling in Bangladesh, raised concern about yesterday's attacks.
Local journalists told CPJ that they believe the police and JCD members
were deliberately targeting them.
Political tensions have increased in Bangladesh with the opposition Awami
League party calling four general strikes in the last 16 days and the
brutal attack on Professor Azad in February. Azad was knifed in the face
by unknown assailants apparently in retaliation for his fictionalized
writing about fundamentalism. He survived the attack but is still being
treated at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka.
MARCH 13, 2004
Posted: April 9, 2004
Golam Mortaza, Saptahik 2000
Mortaza, an investigative reporter with the weekly Bangla-language magazine
Saptahik 2000, received a package in the mail containing a funeral
shroud with a note that read, "The shroud is your reward for writing about
us," according to The Daily Star. Later that day, Mortaza received
an anonymous phone call repeating the death threat against him.
Mortaza's editor, Shahadat Chowdhury, told The Associated Press that Mortaza
had received several other anonymous death threats both on his cell phone
and on his office phone that week.
The journalist had recently written about religious fundamentalists, the
criminal underworld, and corrupt politicians, according to local press
The office of Mortaza's news magazine filed an official complaint with
police and requested protection for the journalist, according to The Associated
APRIL 4, 2004
Posted: April 8, 2004
Delwar Hossain, Jugantor
Hossain, correspondent of the Bangla–language daily Jugantor,
was shot while in the capital, Dhaka, in the afternoon.
Hossain was in a store in central Dhaka when two unidentified men entered
and shot him, according to local news reports. There were conflicting
accounts about his wounds; some said he was shot in the head and back,
but the United News of Bangladesh wire service reported that he was shot
twice in the stomach. CPJ continues to investigate the incident.
After the attack, Hossain was taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital,
where he is recovering after surgery, according to local n news reports.
He spoke with reporters in the hospital yesterday and accused a local
criminal group of ordering the attack against him in retaliation for his
reporting about their illegal activities.
According to The Associated Press, police are currently investigating
the shooting. Local journalists held a demonstration on Monday, April
5, to protest the incident.
APRIL 16, 2004
Posted: April 20, 2004
Shaheen Mollah, The Daily Star
Baki Billah, Sangbad
Mollah and Billah were attacked and beaten by a group of activists from
the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party's student wing, the Jatiyatabadi
Chhatra Dal (JCD), at a pharmacy near the Dhaka Medical College Hospital,
according to The Daily Star.
Earlier that day, two JCD members from Dhaka University went to the pharmacy,
took some medicine without paying, and threatened the pharmacy owner,
Moshiur Rahman Liton. After the JCD members left, Liton called Mollah
and Billah and told them what had happened. The two journalists came to
the pharmacy and were talking to Liton at around 2:30 p.m. when a group
of about 20 JCD members assaulted them and ransacked and looted the pharmacy.
Billah was admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hospital in serious condition
with head, neck, and hand injuries. He fell into a coma on April 17 and
was transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). Liton, who was
also admitted to DMCH, suffered head and neck injuries.
Local journalists groups protested the attack, demanding police action
against the assailants. Police have not yet made any arrests.
APRIL 27, 2004
Posted: April 29, 2004
Sumi Khan, Weekly 2000
Khan was on her way home on the evening of April 27 when three unidentified
assailants in a rickshaw tried to forcibly take her with them, according
to Khan. As she struggled against her attackers, they cut her forehead,
mouth, and hands with a knife, and beat her arms and legs. Khan said that
while they were attacking her, the assailants shouted at her, "You have
gone too far. You are very daring, and you should not be."
Khan then lost consciousness. People on the street came to her defense,
but her assailants got away. Khan said that three policemen stood by while
the attack took place.
Locals took her to a hospital. Khan, who was sent home after receiving
stitches in her forehead, is still in great pain. Khan called police and
filed a complaint against the three men. Although police promised to come
to her to follow up with her on the investigation, no officers had arrived
two days later.
Chittagong is a city known for violent crime, kidnappings for ransom,
and extortion. Khan said that she has been receiving threats for months
because of her reporting on criminal figures.
In March, CPJ met Khan and other journalists from outside the capital
during a mission to Bangladesh. CPJ has documented dozens of similar attacks
on journalists in Bangladesh in retaliation for their reporting on crime
The Chittagong Union of Journalists has also protested the attack and
called for the arrest of the assailants.
MAY 23, 2004
Posted: June 3, 2004
Members of the Islamic vigilante organization Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh
(JMJB) threatened local journalists during a public demonstration in the
northwestern city of Rajshahi. The rally, which thousands of JMJB supporters
attended, took place under police escort, according to local news reports.
According to local media and CPJ sources, JMJB leaders said that local
journalists should be killed for reporting negatively on their activities.
"Reporters are falsely accusing us of killing, torture, and oppression.
They do not know that their pen might stop some day," said Lutfar Rahman,
a JMJB leader addressing the crowd, according to the news Web site One
World South Asia.
Four journalists were specifically mentioned, according to local sources:
Anisuzzaman (who goes by one name), a local correspondent for the national
Bengali-language daily Janakantha; Selim Jahangir, a photographer
for Janakantha; Mahtab Chowdhury, a correspondent for the local
Bengali-language daily Sonali Sangbad; and Jahangir Alam Akash,
a correspondent for the national Bangali-language daily Sangbad.
The JMJB has been engaged in a violent campaign against militant Maoist
groups in northwestern Bangladesh since April and has enjoyed police protection,
according to local media. A May report in the national English-language
Daily Star linked JMJB members to Al-Qaeda.
MAY 25, 2004
Posted: June 3, 2004
Chitha Ghosh, Dinajpur Press Club
Golam Nabi Dulal, Dinajpur Press Club
Swarup Kumar Bakshi Bacchu, Dinajpur Union of Journalists
Shaheen Hossain, Dinajpur Union of Journalists
Ahsanul Alam Saathi, free-lance
Sazzadur Rahman Shili, Janakantha
Asadullah Sarkar, Prothom Alo
At least nine journalists in the northwestern district of Dinajpur received
death threats by mail from a suspected Islamic militant organization.
The journalists included Ghosh, president of the Dinajpur Press Club;
Dulal, general secretary of the press club; Bacchu, president of the Dinajpur
Union of Journalists; Hossain, the union's secretary; Saathi, a freelance
journalist; Shili, a local correspondent for the national Bengali-language
daily Janakantha; and Sarkar, a correspondent for the national
Bengali-language daily Prothom Alo.
In the letters, members of militant Islamic group Jamaat-ul-Mujahidin
claim to have sent the threats. Local media have linked Jamaat-ul-Mujahidin
to the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), an Islamic vigilante organization
that has led a violent campaign against militant Maoist groups in northwestern
Bangladesh since April. A May report in the national English-language
Daily Star linked JMJB members to al-Qaeda.
CPJ sources said the threats stemmed from recent articles in the local
media criticizing Islamic militant groups for carrying out extra-judicial
killings of alleged Maoist militants and for enforcing strict interpretations
of Islamic codes on local residents, including forcing women to wear veils
and men to grow beards. Local media have also reported that the groups
have benefited from police support.
Sarkar said that the threatening letters "termed us as evil and said that
we should put down our pens or our wives would become widows," the news
Web site One World South Asia reported.
JUNE 4, 2004
Posted: June 9., 2004
Mamun Abedin, Bhorer Kagoj
Abu Taher Khokon, New Age
Ali Hossain Mintu, Dainik Janata
Akhter Hossain, News Today
On the eve of a nation-wide antigovernment strike, or hartal, police
assaulted photojournalists who were covering a protest march led by supporters
of the opposition Awami League political party in the capital, Dhaka,
according to local press reports and CPJ sources. Four photographers were
injured in the assault: Mamun Abedin of the Bengali-language daily Bhorer
Kagoj; Abu Taher Khokon of the English-language daily New Age;
Ali Hossain Mintu of the Bengali-language daily Dainik Janata;
and Akhter Hossain of the English-language daily News Today.
JUNE 5, 2004
Posted: June 9, 2004
M. A. Manik, Grammer Kagoj
Habibur Rahman Habib, freelance
Touhidur Rahman, freelance
H.M. Siraj, freelance
Rafiqul Islam, freelance
S.M. Kabir, freelance
While covering a nationwide antigovernment strike, or hartal, M.
A. Manik, a photographer working for the local Bengali-language Grammer
Kagoj, was beaten by police in the town of Jessore, in the
southwestern Khulna District, according to CPJ sources. When the local
press club organized a procession to protest the assault, police attacked
the procession, injuring five more journalists who work as local freelance
reporters: Habibur Rahman Habib, Touhidur Rahman, H.M. Siraj, Rafiqul
Islam, and S.M. Kabir.
JUNE 22, 2004
Posted: June 24, 2004
Mozaffar Rahman, Patradut
Monirul Islam Moni, Patradut
Rahman, a reporter with the local Bengali-language daily Patradut,
and Moni, a photographer with Patradut, were assaulted while visiting
a district prison in Satkhira, a town in southwestern Bangladesh. Their
visit followed the publication of a report in another Satkhira-based Bengali-language
daily, Kafela, that accused prison guards of extorting money
from visitors. Local journalists told CPJ they believe the journalists
were assaulted in retaliation for the article.
After a prison official identified Rahman and Moni as journalists, he
ordered guards to assault them, the national English-language Daily
Star reported. The guards beat the journalists with batons, causing
chest, leg, and back injuries, according to local sources.
Rahman and Moni were detained at the jail for several hours before local
colleagues arrived and demanded their release. The journalists are recovering
from their injuries at a hospital in Satkhira.
Following protests from a Satkhira journalists' group, a criminal case
has been filed against prison officials, and five prison staff are under
investigation for their involvement in the assault, according to CPJ sources.
Local officials have visited the journalists at the hospital and promised
to take action against those responsible for the attack.
JUNE 27, 2004
Updated: November 4, 2004
Humayun Kabir, Janmabhumi
Kabir, editor of the Bangla-language daily Janmabhumi, was
killed in a bomb attack in the southwestern city of Khulna. At around
12 p.m., an unidentified assailant threw two bombs at Kabir outside his
home while he was exiting his car with his family, according to local
Witnesses told the English-language Daily Star that the assailant,
posing as a peanut seller, approached Kabir and tossed at least two homemade
bombs at him, fatally injuring him in the abdomen and the legs. Kabir
was taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital and died soon after. Kabir's
son Asif also suffered minor injuries on his legs and was treated at a
An underground leftist group known as Janajuddha (People's War), a faction
of the Purbo Banglar Communist Party, claimed responsibility for the murder
in phone calls to several local newspapers and journalists on June 27,
according to local journalists.
Kabir, 58, was a veteran journalist and the president of the Khulna Press
Club. He published bold articles criticizing the organized crime that
plagues Bangladesh's troubled southwestern region. After his friend and
fellow journalist Manik Saha was murdered in a similar attack in January,
Kabir criticized the criminal elements implicated in Saha's killing. Janajuddha
also claimed responsibility for Saha's murder. Kabir had recently been
receiving death threats, according to local news reports.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and other high-ranking government officials
condemned Kabir's brutal murder and pledged to find and punish those responsible.
Local journalists' groups spoke out against the murder and called for
a week of mourning.
In the immediate aftermath, local police said they detained nine suspects
in connection with Kabir's murder, the BBC reported. The case had not
been brought to trial by fall.
Two other suspects in the case, leaders of the Janajuddha faction, died
in separate shootouts with police in late August. Authorities also accused
the two dead suspects, Altaf Hossain and Imam Sarder, in Saha's murder,
according to local news reports.
JULY 1, 2004
Posted: July 16, 2004
Monirul Islam Moni, Ittefaq
Habibur Rahman, Juger Barta
Mostafizur Rahman Uzzal, Juger Barta
Altaf Hossain, Sangram
Abdul Wazed Kachi, Inqilab
Shawkat Hossain Moyna, Al-Mujadded
Iduzzaman Idris, Kafela
Mohammad Rafiq, Kafela
Ibrahim Hossain Tuhin, Khabar
Abdus Sattar, Purbanchal
Zillur Rahman, Prabah
Masud Hossain, Lok Samaj
Selim Reza Mukul, freelance
A letter faxed to the Press Club in Satkhira, a city in southwestern Bangladesh,
threatened to kill 13 local correspondents by July 18. The letter said
it was from Janajuddha (People's War), a faction of the outlawed Purbo
Banglar Communist Party (PBCP).
The letter followed the June 27 killing of Humayun Kabir, editor of the
Bengali-language daily Janmabhumi, in a bomb attack in the nearby
city of Khulna. Janajuddha claimed responsibility for the murder in phone
calls to several local newspapers and journalists that same day. After
Kabir's death, local journalists in southwestern Bangladesh, already a
notoriously violent and lawless area, said they felt increasingly threatened
by local militant groups.
According to local sources, these journalists were threatened in the letter;
Moni, a correspondent for the national Bengali-language daily Ittefaq;
Habibur Rahman, of the Satkhira-based Bengali-language daily Juger
Barta; Uzzal, of Juger Barta; Altaf Hossain, of the national
Bengali-language daily Sangram; Kachi, of the national Bengali-language
daily Inqilab; Moyna, of the national Bengali-language daily Al-Mujadded;
Idris, of the Satkhira-based Bengali-language daily Kafela; Rafiq,
of Kafela; Tuhin, of the national Bengali-language daily
Khabar; Sattar, of the Khulna-based Bengali-language daily Purbanchal;
Zillur Rahman, of the Khulna-based Bengali-language daily Prabah;
Masud Hossain, of the Jessore-based Bengali-language daily Lok Samaj;
and Mukul, a freelance journalist.
In January, a similar letter, which also said it was from the PBCP, was
sent to the Satkhira Press Club threatening to kill nine other local correspondents
unless they stopped writing about the murder of journalist Manik Saha.
Saha, a veteran journalist and press freedom activist, was targeted and
killed in a bomb attack in Khulna on January 15. Janajuddha also claimed
responsibility for Saha's killing.
JULY 10, 2004
Posted: July 14, 2004
Since July 10, at least 24 journalists and writers have received death
threats, all apparently from Islamic groups who accuse them of being "enemies
of Islam" or "acting against Islam," according to local news reports and
Journalists in the northeastern city of Sylhet, the southern district
of Barguna, and in the capital, Dhaka, received individual letters on
July 10 containing death threats and accusing them of not being Muslim,
calling them "enemies of Islam." The letters also advised them to "get
ready-you will die within a month," according to the English-language
On July 11, an Islamic group calling itself the Mujahideen al-Islam issued
public death threats to newspapers in Dhaka identifying 10 other individuals
as "sinners... among those the Koran ordains to kill," according to local
press reports and CPJ sources. Among the threatened individuals were Shahriar
Kabir and Professor Muntasir Mamun, both known for their writing against
In Syhlet, 15 journalists received threatening letters on July 10, according
to local news reports: local correspondents Ahmed Noor and Partha Sarathi
Das, of the Bangla-language national daily Prothom Alo; correspondent
Liakat Shah Faridi, from the Bangla-language national daily Jugantar;
local correspondent Al Azad, from the Bangla-langauge Sangbad;
local correspondent Ajoy Pal, from the Bangla-language Bangla Bazar
Patrika; local reporter Kamkamur Razzak Runu, from the Bangla-language
daily Ajker Kagoj; and staff reporter Salam Mashrur, from the Bangla-language
Others who received the letters in Syhlet include Shyamol Sylhet
Editor Chowdhury Mumtaj Ahmed, News Editor Abdul Mukit, and staff reporter
Motiul Bari Khuhrshed; Jugobheri Editor-in-Charge Aziz Ahmed Selim
and News Editor Tapash Dash Purokayastho; Ajker Kagoj District
Correspondent Apurbo Dhar; Bhorer Kagoj District Correspondent
Bappa Ghose Chowdhury; and Manavjamin Staff Reporter MA Rahim.
In Dhaka, Prothom Alo crime reporter Parvez Khan and Bhorer
Kagoj local correspondent Ikhtiar Uddin also received death threat
letters on July 10.
In the southern Barguna District, five more journalists were threatened
by an unnamed Islamic group on July 10, according to local news reports
and CPJ sources. Prothom Alo local correspondent M. Jasim Uddin
received a threatening letter containing a small piece of a burial shroud,
according to The Daily Star. The letter also mentioned threats
against the Bangla-language daily Ittefaq local correspondent Abdul
Alim Himu, Jugantor local reporter Anwar Hossain Monwar, Sangbad
local correspondent Chittyaranajan Shil, and Ajker Kagoj local
reporter Hasanur Rahman Jhantu.
AUGUST 21, 2004
Posted: August 24, 2004
Mohammed Alam, Ittefaq
Mamun Ahmed, Bhorer Kagoj
S.M. Gorki, Jugantor
Mir Farid, Janakantha
Ashraful Alam, Channel-I
Zakir, Channel I
Sayed Reaz, ATN
At least seven journalists were wounded when unidentified assailants apparently
attempted to assassinate opposition leader Sheikh Hasina at the end of
a political rally in the capital Dhaka near her Awami League party headquarters,
according to the Internet edition of the Ittefaq newspaper.
Hasina had just finished her speech at the rally, which was held to protest
another recent bombing, when several hand grenades were thrown at the
stage, killing at least 17 people and wounding several hundred others,
according to local and international news reports.
After Hasina fled the auditorium, a gunman opened fire on her armored
car, but she was able to escape with only minor injuries.
Television cameramen and reporters on the stage to film the event were
hurt during the attack, including Alam, Zakir, and Reaz.
The assassination attempt sparked political tensions in Bangladesh, and
riot police and paramilitaries were called out to the streets throughout
the country to keep order.
Thousands of Awami League supporters protested the attack over the weekend.
Angry supporters clashed with police and set a passenger train on fire
in Dhaka on August 22, wounding at least 25 people, according to local
Agence France-Presse reported that two journalists were wounded on August
23 while covering demonstrations in Dhaka after being attacked by supporters
of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
AUGUST 22, 2004
Posted: December 3, 2004
Kamal Hossain, Ajker Kagoj
Hossain, the local correspondent for the Bangla-language daily Ajker Kagoj, was abducted and brutally murdered by unknown assailants in the early morning in Manikcchari, eastern Chittagong District, according to local news reports. The newswire service the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) reported that police discovered Hossain’s decapitated body nearby hours later.
According to Bangladeshi news reports, armed men broke into Hossain’s house in the middle of the night and threatened to kill Hossain’s 2-year-old son unless he surrendered to them. The men took Hossain away at gunpoint and later killed him.
Hossain, 32, was the general secretary of the Manikcchari Press Club and had recently written several articles about criminal activity, according to local journalists. The Chittagong District is notorious for organized crime, including the illegal trade of lumber and arms, sources told CPJ. Hossain was also involved with the local youth wing of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, and had recently had a dispute with a neighbor about land, Bangladeshi news outlets reported.
But local journalists told CPJ they are convinced that Hossain’s murder
was related to his investigative reporting about organized crime. His
wife says he had received death threats before his murder, according to
local news reports. An article in Ajker Kagoj at the time of his
death also claimed that Hossain was likely killed because of his investigative
work. Bangladeshi press groups condemned the killing and called for justice.
AUGUST 24, 2004
Posted: September 13, 2004
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, The Bangladesh Observer
Chowdhury, the editor of the English language daily The Bangladesh
Observer, received an anonymous death threat in the mail at the newspaper's
office, according to local sources and press accounts. The letter mentioned
the recent death of the prominent professor Humayun Azad, who died in
Germany in August and was brutally attacked by militants in February at
Religious fundamentalists appeared to be responsible for the threat, according
to local press reports. Fundamentalist groups have stepped up threats
against journalists and intellectuals this year.
The letter claimed that fundamentalism would never be rooted out of the
country, according to the Bangla-language daily Jugantor, and that
the letter was meant to be a "red light" to Chowdhury.
Chowdhury, who is also president of the opposition faction of the Bangladesh
Federal Union of Journalists, has spoken out against militant fundamentalism
and their threats against the press. He filed a complaint with police
and requested protection.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2004
Posted: September 14, 2004
Sahabul Huq Sabu, Ittefaq
Mokarram Hossain Shubho Prothom Alo
Zia Islam, Prothom Alo
Amran Hossain, The Daily Star
Four unidentified journalists (including photographers for New
Age and Bhorer Kagoj)
Pro-government activists attacked at least eight journalists covering
student demonstrations on the Dhaka University campus in the capital,
Members of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party's youth wing, the Jatiyatabadi
Chhatra Dal (JCD), went on a rampage around midday, attacking opposition
student demonstrators with sticks and iron rods, and injuring at least
40 protesters, according to Bangladeshi news reports. Six opposition organizations
were protesting the August 21 assassination attempt on opposition leader
Sheikh Hasina, and calling for the ruling government to resign.
When journalists took photographs of the violence, members of the JCD
turned on them, beating them, grabbing their cameras, and confiscating
their film, according to the English-language newspaper The Daily Star.
JCD members also attacked the offices of Dhaka University's journalism
department, beating down the door of the chairman, Golam Rahman, and ransacking
the office of senior professor Arefin Siddique, according to the United
News of Bangladesh (UNB), the national news wire service.
Opposition representatives accused the police of standing by while the
JCD attacked the students and journalists, doing nothing to defend them.
Campus groups, including the Dhaka University Journalists Association,
condemned the violence, and called for the arrest and expulsion of JCD
members responsible for the attacks.
The president of the JCD, Shahabuddin Laltu, denied responsibility for
the assaults, claiming that those responsible for the violence against
the journalists were "outsiders," according to the UNB.
Clashes between rival political activist groups frequently break out on
the Dhaka University campus. Tensions have heightened in recent days in
the wake of the grenade attack on Awami League head Sheikh Hasina as she
was leaving a rally in protest of another bomb attack in August.
OCTOBER 2, 2004
Updated: November 4, 2004
Diponkar Chakrabarty, Durjoy Bangla
Assailants wielding knives and traditional axes brutally murdered
Chakrabarty, executive editor of the Bangla-language daily, Durjoy
Bangla, late the night of October 2.
Chakrabarty, a veteran journalist who also helped lead several press groups,
was on his way home in Sherpur, a town in the Bogra district of the northeastern
Rajshahi Division, when as many as five assailants ambushed and decapitated
him, local journalists told CPJ. Witnesses heard Chakrabarty's cries and
the sound of motorcycles as the assailants fled the scene, according to
local news reports.
While some local journalists say they are convinced that Chakrabarty was
killed in retaliation for his journalistic work, others cite his work
as a Hindu activist and a land dispute at a nearby temple as a possible
motive. Police told Agence France-Presse that the killers were likely
"professional," while the Press Trust of India wire service reported that
police suspected left-wing extremist groups.
A journalist since the 1970s, Chakrabarty was vice president of the Bangladesh
Federal Union of Journalists, and president of several local journalist
associations. Local journalists were shocked by the brutality of the attack,
and newspapers ran blank front pages in protest of Chakarabarty's murder.