Crash victims' bodies arrive, probe begins

ATN News CEO Ashfaque Munier and acclaimed filmmaker Tareque Masud are among the five killed in an accident on the Dhaka-Aricha highway

bdnews24.com
Published : 13 August 2011, 01:29 AM
Updated : 13 August 2011, 01:29 AM
Manikganj, Aug 13 (bdnews24.com) — Inquiry has started in the road crash that killed Ashfaque (Mishuk) Munier, the CEO of ATN News, Tareque Masud, an award-winning filmmaker, and three others on the Dhaka-Aricha highway on Saturday.
They were returning to Dhaka from Manikganj after visiting a shooting location for Masud's new film Kagojer Phool (the paper flower).
Catherine Masud, wife of the filmmaker and a co-director, and three others were also seriously injured in the accident but later doctors said she is 'out of danger'.
The other deceased are microbus driver Mustafiz, Masud's production manager 'Wasim' and staff 'Jamal'.
The bodies of Tareque and Munier would be kept at the Central Shaheed Minar around 10:30am on Sunday for people to pay their last respects.
Their namaj-e-janaza would be held after the Zohr prayers at the Dhaka University mosque, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote president Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu told bdnews24.com on Saturday evening.
Earlier, the bodies of five victims were taken to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) around 6:40pm for dressing and bathing.
"Upon special permission from the government, the bodies were not be dissected," he said.
From DMCH, the body of Masud was taken to his sister's residence at Farmgate and of Mishuk to his Banani residence.
The bodies have been kept at the mortuary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in the night.
"Mishuk's body will be kept at the ATN News office at 8:30am on Sunday, and then both bodies will be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar," Bacchu said.
But the matters of burial would be decided once Catherine recovers and Mishuk's brother returns from abroad, he added.
President Zillur Rahman, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia have condoled the deaths.
Manikganj SP Mohammad Ali told bdnews24.com that they were travelling in a microbus that collided head-on with an oncoming bus near Ghior, around mid-day Saturday.
Catherine and the other critically injured people were initially admitted to Manikganj Adhunik Sadar Hospital. But soon they were shifted to the Square Hospitals in Dhaka.
A three-member committee, headed by Roads and Highways Department (RHD) supervising engineer (Dhaka circle) Arifur Rahman was formed on Saturday afternoon, RHD chief engineer Mohammad Shahabuddin told bdnews24.com.
The other members of the panel that has been asked to submit its report within a week are RHD supervising engineer (Road Safety) Kamrul Haque and executive engineer of Manikganj Sabuj Uddin Khan.
"The committee has started working from today (Saturday). A member has already visited the spot. The full panel will visit the spot again tomorrow," Shahbuddin said.
Rafiq Monis, Masud's assistant who survived the accident, said they had gone there around 6am. He said both Munier and Masud died instantly at the scene.
Monis suffered cuts in parts of his body. The driver of their microbus was among the dead, he said.
Artist Dhali Al Mamun and his painter wife Dilara Begum Joly, who were travelling with them, were also injured in the accident, he said.
Earlier, communications minister Syed Abul Hossain told bdnews24.com that he had ordered a three-member committee to investigate the accident.
RHD secretary Mozammel Haque Khan, who was on his way from Madaripur to Dhaka, had been ordered to visit the area, the minister said.
"The microbus carrying them collided head-on with a bus when the microbus driver tried to overtake another bus," he said.
"He shouldn't have overtaken. The road or signals didn't cause the accident. We're, however, investigating the matter," he added.
Munier is son of 1971 martyred intellectual Munier Chowdhury and he taught video communication at the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of Dhaka University.
He took charge of ATN News station in Nov 2010, having previously worked with The Real News, a Canada-US based television news and documentary network.
About himself on his Facebook account, Munier wrote: ".... and so it goes on ... thanks to you all".
Masud directed a number of critically acclaimed films such as Muktir Gaan (The Song of Freedom) and Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) that won a FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Banned by the government in May 2002, Matir Moina was the first film from Bangladesh to go on general release in the UK.
Born at Bhanga in Faridpur, Masud and Catherine, who is his co-director and a film editor, run a film production house, Audiovision.
The New York Times' Elvis Mitchell wrote in June 2003 about The Clay Bird: "Masud's expansive fluidity is rapturous, inspired equally by the floating equanimity of Satyajit Ray and the work of the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who deftly uses ritual behavior to provide social commentary."
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Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher