Ranesh Maitra no more

Ekushey Padak-winging journalist and columnist Ranesh Maitra died at a hospital in the capital early yesterday.

He was 89.

He had been suffering from various diseases related to old age over the last few months. As his condition deteriorated, he was moved to Dhaka from Pabna on Friday and was admitted to the hospital.

A veteran of the Language Movement and Liberation War, Ranesh breathed his last around 3:50am, said Shoikat Afroz Asad, secretary of Pabna Press Club, quoting his family members.

The journalist, a former Pabna district correspondent of The Daily Star, is survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.

He was the pioneer of journalism in the district and also the founding secretary of the Pabna Press Club.

He organised the Language Movement in Pabna in 1952 when he was a college student. He spent his entire life for movements against oppression.

Born on October 4 in 1933, Ranesh entered political arena during the Language Movement. A key organiser of Bangladesh Chhatra Union, he later joined the National Awami Party (NAP) and the Gonoforum.

Ranesh, who would have been 90 in a week, was involved in Oikyo NAP before his death.

Ranesh organised valiant freedom fighters during the Liberation War. He went to India for arranging training for freedom fighters.

He spent years behind bars during the East Pakistan period and independent Bangladesh for fighting injustice.

Jakir Hossain, president of Pabna District Workers Party, said Ranesh dedicated his entire life to ensuring financial and social freedom of the ordinary people. "He never bowed to those in power."

Ranesh started his career in journalism in 1951 with "Nawbelal", a weekly paper of Sylhet.

After serving Indian newspaper the Sottojug, he joined the Daily Sangbad in 1955. He worked for the Daily Morning News since 1961 before joining the Daily Observer in 1967, where he served until 1992.

The veteran journalist then joined the Daily New Nation as the country editor. He worked for The Daily Star from 1993 to 2000.

"Ranesh Maitra was involved in journalism till death as a columnist. He wrote for establishing the rights of the ordinary people," said ABM Fazlur Rahman, president of Pabna Press Club.

He said Ranesh's death was a huge loss to ethical journalism in the country.

The journalist was awarded Ekushey Padak in journalism in 2018. He received many other awards.

Meanwhile, Pabna Press Club yesterday announced a seven-day mourning programme over the death of the senior journalist.

Shoikat, secretary of the press club, said the decision on Ranesh's funeral will be made after the return of his elder son from Australia and a daughter from the USA.


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