Return Utpal, please
“Ma [mother] will die if Utpal does not return soon,” said Bobita Rani Das while pleading for safe return of his younger brother, Utpal Das, who went traceless more than two weeks ago.
Bimola Rani Das, mother of the senior reporter of news portal purboposhchimbd.news, has been bedridden and anxiously passing her time since she heard the news. She had stopped taking meals for the last four days.
“Mother doesn't respond well. At times, she opens her eyes, but only to ask about Utpal. Please return him to my mother,” said a teary Bobita.
She was speaking at a press conference at the capital's Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association yesterday. The family sought the prime minister's intervention in this regard.
Hailing from Raipura upazila of Narsingdi, Utpal, 27, began journalism five years ago. After working at various media outlets, he joined the news portal about a year ago.
He went missing and his phone was found switched off since he had spoken to his mother on October 10. Utpal used to live in a mess at the capital's Fakirapool and he was on his way to office in Motijheel area that day.
Two general diaries, one by his father Chittaranjan Das, were filed with Motijheel Police Station.
Hours after filing a GD on Monday, Chittaranjan received several phone calls from his son's numbers. The unidentified callers demanded Tk 1 lakh as ransom. They did not allow him to talk to his son, he said.
Police, however, said they could not trace the calls and suspected those were spoofed calls meant for realising money from the family.
“I brought up my children amid hardship. I need your help…,” appealed Chittaranjan at yesterday's conference.
While talking, Chittaranjan, a former headmaster of a primary school, was consoling his two daughters. “We miss him… we are very worried,” the father could not finish his sentence as he also broke down in tears.
The family members said they were unaware of any reports by Utpal that might have angered some quarters.
Peer Habibur Rahman, chief editor of the news portal, also demanded the prime minister's intervention.
Asked, Omar Faruk, officer-in-charge of Motijheel Police Station, said they were trying to trace out the journalist.
Meanwhile, expressing deep concern, rights body Ain o Salish Kendra yesterday demanded that the law enforcers take proper measures to find Utpal.