Leaders of different journalist bodies, including the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), expressed their frustration with the assigned investigator, the Rapid Action Battalion, for repeatedly failing to file its probe report over ten years in the much-talked-about murder case of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.
The journalist leaders said they would now submit memorandums to the president, prime minister, and the chief justice, seeking a deadline for filing of the report.
DRU President Nazrul Islam Mithu made the announcement in a demonstration at the DRU premises in the capital on Friday.
Office-bearers of several other journalist bodies, including the Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) and the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) were present at the event.
"The filing of the probe report in the case was deferred 85 times. We want no more delay. The complete trial of the case must be ensured by 11 February next year," said Mithu.
In the last 10 years, the DRU has filed memorandums with the home minister and the police chief demanding the filing of the probe report as early as possible, but the memorandums did not yield any fruit. "Now, we will submit memorandums to the president, the prime minister, the chief justice, and others, in phases."
The DRU president said, "We demand termination of the officials who have failed to carry out the investigation over this prolonged period."
Mithu said there were some forums of editors but they have remained silent on the issue. He urged editors of newspapers and other news outlets to express solidarity with the DRU.
Maasranga Television Chief News Editor Rashed Ahmed said, "We do not want to believe the killers are stronger than the government and we demand a speedy completion of the trail."
BFUJ Joint-Secretary-General Sheikh Mamunur Rashid, DUJ President Quddus Afrad, DUJ General Secretary Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu, former General Secretary of DRU, Raju Ahmed, former DRU Vice President Ajmal Haque Helal, and former Executive Members of DRU, Kudrat-e Khoda and Moinul Ahsan, among others, spoke at the event.
Echoing Mithu and Rashed, other journalist leaders said they have lost faith in the police regarding the investigation process. They demanded an immediate arrest of the killers and urged a united movement of journalists.
DRU Joint-Secretary Shahnaz Sharmeen urged her fellow reporters to carry out journalistic investigations on the issue, rather than just placing such demands every year.
"I think we will be able to unearth the original matter behind the killings," she added.
On 11 February 2012, Sagar Sarwar, then news editor of Maasranga Television, and Meherun Runi, senior reporter of ATN Bangla, were murdered in their rented apartment in the capital's West Rajabazar area, which sparked a huge outcry across the country.
The case was first investigated by a sub-inspector (SI) of police. On 16 February, the case was transferred to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Detective Branch (DB). They also admitted failure to the High Court, 62 days after being given the responsibility of investigation.
Later, RAB, the elite force of the Bangladesh Police, was assigned to investigate the case.
In the course of investigation, Sagar and Runi's bodies were exhumed from their grave for the examination of viscera. The viscera test report states that no toxins or drugs were used before their deaths.
They died of stab wounds and excessive bleeding, added the report.
The probe report to be filed soon: RAB
Although RAB was assigned to carry out the investigation almost 10 years ago, it is yet to submit a report.
"The probe report will be filed soon," said RAB Director for Legal and Media, Wing Commander Khandaker Al Moin, in a press conference at its Media Centre in the capital on Friday.
The RAB official, however, did not mention any specific date for submitting the report to the court.
"RAB, as well as the government, has emphasised the case so much that the collected evidence was sent abroad for deep scrutiny. We are now analysing the results."
"We are continuing our investigation and hope we will be able to submit the report soon," he added.