Dhaka, Jun 5 (bdnews24.com) – Leaders of several journalists' unions have slammed ATN Bangla Chairman Mahfuzur Rahman and demanded his arrest for his remarks on the killing of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.
They made the demand on Tuesday while demonstrating against an attack on bdnews24.com office and recent police torture of Prothom Alo journalists.
Members of the unions formed a human chain and organised a protest rally in front of the National Press Club.
The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ), the National Press Club, Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) and the Bangladesh Photo Journalists' Association (BPJA) had organised the protest programme.
General Secretary of a faction of DUJ, Shaban Mahmud, termed 'offensive, indecent and defamatory' remarks of Mahfuzur made recently in London that Sagar and Runi were victims of an extra-marital affair.
"The law enforcers should sit with him and retrieve information," Shaban said.
"He should be arrested, if necessary," he added.
ATN Bangla Senior Reporter Runi and Maasranga TV News Editor Sagar were killed in their Rajabazar flat on Feb 11. Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is investigating the murders as the police failed to make any progress in the case.
Mahfuzur told a rally in London recently that they were 'victims of an extra-marital affair' and he had video footage and information on the matter.
However, ATN Bangla Chief News Editor Z E Mamun told Tuesday's rally that Mahfuzur's remarks were 'personal'.
"Several newspapers ran imaginary and indecent reports after the killing of Sagar and Runi. We had protested such reports and said they were confusing and disgraceful. Dr Mahfuzur Rahman's speech was similar [to those reports].
"ATN Bangla journalists have no connection with his remarks," Mamun said.
He demanded arrest of the murderers irrespective of their party affiliation.
General Secretary of another faction of DUJ, Baker Hossain, said all should be careful about such an owner of an organisation who spies on his employees.
"We can't even think that he is so irresponsible," he said.
He termed Mahfuzur 'villain' for spreading 'rumours' and said he had stigmatised the entire journalist community.
"Everything [about the murders] will be known if he is interrogated. All documents should be recovered from him after his arrest," he added.
DRU President Shakhawat Hossain Badsha demanded his arrest immediately after his return. "How mean-minded he is that he said Sagar and Runi arranged alcohol parties at their house."
Omar Faruq, President of a faction of DUJ, said: "We suspected from the beginning that Mahfuzur Rahman might be involved with the murders."
"We're asking the police to arrest him. Otherwise we'll be forced to lay siege to the ATN Bangla offices," he added.
National Press Club President Kamal Uddin Sabuj said they wanted punishment to the murderers.
President of a faction of BFUJ, Ruhul Amin Gazi, said it seemed that he was involved with the murder as he spoke on it though no one had pointed finger at him.