Police inaction in suspicious ‘hit-and-run’ in Bangladesh20 Feb, 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) express concern over Bangladesh Police’s refusal to register a case in a suspicious hit-and-run incident involving a journalist in Dhaka. The IFJ demands immediate registering of a case, followed by a fair probe into the incident.
Senior reporter of Daily Observer Mamunur Rashid was severely injured in what appears to be a suspicious ‘hit-and-run’ accident in Kawran Bazar on February 12. A microbus with tinted glass sped towards and hit Rashid’s motorbike. Rashid was at the corner of the street waiting for the traffic to clear when he was hit by the vehicle. Rashid said that the driver made a second attempt, but he escaped in the crowded street.
Rashid was taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) where an emergency surgery was performed as the accident dislocated his right arm. The police refused to register an ‘attempt to murder’ case as Rashid wanted to name lawmakers; and instead claimed no eye-witness could be found in the incident area.
Rashid is a noted crime reporter and had written several stories on organised crimes and drug dealers. On January 23, 2017, his story “Police awaits PMO’s order to crackdown on drug lords” naming four ruling party lawmakers allegedly involved in drug-trade had caused outrage in the parliament. Two lawmakers named in his report had filed a libel suit claiming BDT 100 m (Euro 11,76,541) in damages against the editor of Daily Observer and Rashid. Two years ago, his investigative story on drug dealing landed a lawmaker of Cox’s Bazaar constituency in prison.
Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Dhaka Union of Journalists, Dhaka Reporters Unity and Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh jointly held a street protest in front of the National Press Club in support of Rashid.
The IFJ said: “The hit-and-run incident on noted crime reporter Mamunur Rashid needs to be investigated to ensure that the journalists in Bangladesh feel safe to work on investigative stories to expose wrong doings. If such incidents are ignored, press freedom will suffer. The IFJ urges the Bangladesh government to immediately register a case and conduct a fair investigation.”