Saha, a veteran journalist and press freedom activist, was targeted and killed in a bomb attack in the southwestern city of Khulna.
Saha, 45, a correspondent with the daily New Age and a contributor to the BBC’s Bengali-language service, was taking a rickshaw home from the Khulna Press Club when unidentified assailants stopped his vehicle and threw a bomb at him, according to local journalists. The assailants fled the scene.
Police suspect that members of the region’s outlawed Maoist guerrilla
groups may be responsible for the attack. 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.
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 at risk of reprisal for his reporting.
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 a fraction were in custody. Local journalists
say that those responsible for organizing the attack had not been
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 reports.