Journalist Utpal Das went missing in Bangladesh on October 10, 2017, according to local news reports.
Das is a political reporter at the Bangla-language news site Purbopaschimbd, Khujista Nur e Naharin, the website’s editor, told CPJ. Naharin said she did not believe Das’ disappearance was related to his reporting. Some of Das’ colleagues have expressed concern that his disappearance may be related to his Facebook posts, according to news reports that did not elaborate on the nature of the posts.
Naharin and Das’ family each filed a report with police, who said that they were investigating the case, according to Dhaka’s Daily Star newspaper. Das’ mother last spoke with him on October 10, since then his phone has been turned off, according to the Daily Star.
The newspaper reported that Das lived in Dhaka’s south-central Fakirapool neighborhood and went missing on his way to the office in the neighboring Motijheel area.
News reports from early November 2017 that claimed Das had been found were determined to be false.
The journalist’s family said at the time of his disappearance that they did not know if Das had any enemies, and requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s intervention, according to the news reports. Journalists have been holding demonstrations in Dhaka demanding Das’ safe return.
An unidentified group of people left Das at a gas station around midnight on December 19, 2017, according to news reports that cited his friends and family. The journalist told them that he did not who his captors were or why he had been taken but he said that sometimes masked men would come into the shed where he was kept to ask for money, according to The Daily Star. Das said that he was blindfolded when he was first abducted, and that he was not assaulted by the captors, according to The Daily Star.