Celebrated journalist and acting editor of the Daily Sangbad, Khandaker Muniruzzaman, who upheld progressive ideals, secular politics and freedom of speech, passed away yesterday.
Muniruzzaman, 71, breathed his last around 7:40am at Mugda Medical College Hospital. Earlier, he was undergoing treatment at his Shantinagar home after he tested positive for Covid-19.
As his condition deteriorated, he was admitted to the hospital on October 31.
A freedom fighter, Muniruzzaman was buried at Mirpur Martyred Intellectual Graveyard in the evening, following his namaz-e-janaza at the National Press Club premises, where he was given state honours.
He is survived by his wife, a son, daughter-in-law and a host of well-wishers.
Soon after news spread of the death of the founding member of Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council), a pall of gloom descended on people of the media community and other spheres.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, cabinet members, politicians and others from different sectors expressed deep shock and sorrow at Muniruzzaman's death.
In a condolence message, President Hamid said Khandaker Muniruzzaman was a pioneer of neutral, objective and fearless journalism. "His death is an irreparable loss to the mass media," he added.
Prime Minister Hasina prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.
Sampadak Parishad President Mahfuz Anam and Secretary General Naem Nizam in a condolence message said Muniruzzaman's long years in journalism, experienced leadership and wise counsel helped the organisation stand firm on issues of press freedom and independent journalism.
His lifelong involvement with progressive ideals, upholding of the values of our Liberation War and his unrelenting commitment to secular politics and cultural values made him a leading figure in promoting ethical journalism in the profession and democratic values in the society.
His passing away is an irreparable loss to the journalistic fraternity -- his absence will deprive its younger generation from working with an editor who gave a lot and had so much more to give to the profession of journalism.
"Ever smiling, always warm, unrelentingly optimistic, he led a life of simplicity and ethics. He was a person of exceptional human qualities admired by all who worked with him and loved by all who knew him," said the message.
A host of ministers and state ministers, including Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim expressed deep shock at the demise of Muniruzzaman.
Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Oikya NAP, Ekatturer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka, and others also expressed shock.
Earlier, when Muniruzzaman's body was taken to the press club, his long-time colleagues and others paid their last respects. They included members of Sammilito Samajik Andolon, Udichi Shilpigoshti, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Dhaka Union of Journalists, National Press Club, Sampadak Parishad, Dhaka Reporters Unity, Indian High Commission and others.
Born on March 12, 1948 in Dhaka, Muniruzzman started leftist activism in his student life and took part in the movement opposing Ayub Khan and other Pakistani rulers. He started his journalist carrier in 1970 as a reporter of Weekly Ekota, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Bangladesh.
He was founding member of Trade Union Centre and later become CPB Dhaka committee general secretary.
He was in charge of the editorial department of the Daily Sangbad for many years and was the acting editor of the newspaper since January 2010.
Muniruzzaman was also famous for his well-written columns and political analyses.