Killing of journalist Shamsur Rahman: Another year passes without justice
By Saifur Rahman Saif
Information of so many deaths from coronavirus has made my heart heavy while I’m writing this piece. The memory of assassinated journalist Shamsur Rahman adds new decay with that. How much could a human being bear? Is he or she fit for bearing bad news now and then and ever?
The assassination of journalist Shamsur Rahman was a bad news for every human being. Family members of the journalist yet to get justice in 21 years. Journalists in Jashore, a bordering district in Bangladesh, observed his 20th anniversary of death on July 16.
On July 16, 2000 Shamsur Rahman, a special correspondent of Bangla daily Dainik Janakantha and a stringer of BBC Bangla Service, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at his office at Daratana in the town. The incident took place at around 8:10pm on the day.
Shamsur Rahman was also a writer. He wrote several books. He was considered as a bank of information, especially information about Indian politics and outlaw-party men.
Writing was his profession and passion. He was writing a story when the assailants gunned him down.
People took to the streets after the heinous act. Agitations were held at several places across the country raising demands of punishing the killers. Now the day turns into 21 year. But justice is out of reach.
In recent years Bangladesh witnessed several such killings. Daily Runner editor RM Saiful Alam Mukul, New Age correspondent Manik Saha, Daily Sangram Correspondent Sheikh Belal, Daily Runner correspondent Faruk Hossain and Nahar Ali are among them.
My heart further poured with pains hearing the shocking information of killing award winning journalists Danish Siddiqui during a battle in Afghanistan. The information knocked me while I was( am) making this piece.
Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui was killed on Friday while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan, an Afghan commander said.
Afghan special forces had been fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as Taliban crossfire, the official told Reuters.
Siddiqui was part of the Reuters photography team to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis, a series described by the judging committee as “shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar”, Reuters reported.
Another such story made my heart thumped the early day. The story was killing another famous journalist in the Netherland. Peter R de Vries De Vries’s family announced his death after he was shot several times last week. He had just finished recording a television show at RTL Boulevard in Amsterdam and was left fighting for his life in hospital since, according to Aljazeera.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the news touched him deeply.
“Peter R de Vries was always dedicated, tenacious, afraid of nothing and no one. Always seeking the truth and standing up for justice. And, therefore, it’s all the more dramatic that he himself has now become the victim of a great injustice,” the prime minister said.
“We owe it to Peter R de Vries to ensure that justice takes its course. We may and will never tolerate this in the Netherlands. We will do everything we can to fight crime by all means possible. This cowardly act must not go unpunished,” the PM added.
I’m hopeful that justice will not be delayed for the judgment of Peter R de Vries.
Bangladesh is not a war-prone country. So, killing of journalists cannot be treated as an incident. Hare criminals dare to kill journalists due to lack of justice. Shamsur Rahman is such a victim.
Saifur Rahman Saif is a Bangladeshi journalist. He works at New Age. He can be reached at email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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