The Daily Star faces accusations of child abuse


Dhaka’s leading English-language newspaper The Daily Star has been accused of child abuse, while according to media reports, its Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haq, and his wife Tania Khondokar are in prison in connection to mysterious death of their housemaid named Priti Urang.

According to the case document, on February 6, 2024, housemaid Priti Urang fell from the ninth floor of a residential building in Mohammadpur area in the capital. She had been working for almost two years at the residence of the executive editor of the Daily Star, Syed Ashfaqul Haq.

A similar incident occurred at Ashfaqul Haq’s house last year on August 6. A nine-year-old domestic worker was seriously injured after falling. Allegations of torture led to a case being filed against Ashfaqul Haq, his wife Tania Haq.

Following the mysterious death of Priti Urang, The Daily Star a statement said, “We are deeply saddened to learn about the incident in which a young house help met with a tragic death at the residence of our senior colleague and Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque”.

“We express our deepest sorrow at the unfortunate occurrence and convey our deepest condolence to her bereaved family. We await the outcome of the investigation”.

Screenshots of Zulkarnain Saer posts on Facebook and ‘X’

On February 8, 2024, a jihadist-terrorist and self-proclaimed journalist named Zulkarnain Saer Sam who claims to be working with Al Jazeera, Haaretz and the Organized Crime and Corruption Project Reporting (OCCRP) – in a post titled “People who line in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” on Facebook and X (former Twitter) accounts wrote:

The Daily Star has lost any moral ground to do any reports on bribery, corruption, child labour, human rights and perversion of justice after the way the paper has thrown its weight behind its executive editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque for the second time in six months.

When a seven-year-old child fell off his flat in August last year, @dailystarnews and its editor Mr Mahfuz Anam used their maximum sway to save him. Because he faced zero repercussions then, he went on employing another child as house help at his place. Mr Haque will be stepping into Mr Anam’s shoes when he decides to retire. Imagine the editor of The Indian Express/The Hindu/Times of India/Dawn/Bangkok Post/The Strait Times employing a child as a house help. That person would have lost their job when word got out, let alone allegations of torture.

Mr Haque kept his job then. This shows Mr Anam and The Daily Star board’s position on child labour. Here, the mindset of The Daily Star board, which consists of respected Transcom Group and Rangs Group, must be called into question as they seem to be okay with having a person who employs children as house help be the face of their paper that they so valiantly built and nurtured.

When Mr Haque should have been let go from his position, The Daily Star is using all its connections and influence to save him, without thinking twice about what it would cost the paper in terms of reputation and values. Already we are seeing signs that The Daily Star’s efforts are bearing fruit. The language in the case statement appears mild and has inconsistencies that any lawyer worth their salt would be able to exploit.

The case statement says that the girl was 15 years old when her photos and those who have met her say that she can’t be more than 12 years of age. Insisting that the girl was 15 years of age makes the grave offence seem somewhat palatable as the cutoff age for child labour in Bangladesh is 16 years. The case statement also says that the girl has been working there for two years when locals and neighbours are asserting that she has been there for not more than 2-3 months.

Then @somoytv has managed to take footage of the window from which the girl fell off and it is not possible for anyone to accidentally tumble from there. The person has to make a deliberate choice to jump off in an exertion not dissimilar from skydiving or be thrown off the building. But the case statement makes the possibility of toppling over accidentally highly likely. It is pertinent to mention that the girl comes from an ultra-poor tea worker family with no literacy.

The next hearing on the case is three days later and I have got a strong feeling that Mr Haque and his wife will get bail then and that will be the end of the matter. That’s the way the cookie crumbles in our country and our society. Ironically, The Daily Star claimed to fight towards changing this. With this episode, The Daily Star and Mr Anam have shown that they are bereft of any morals or humanity. Utterly despicable.

Hours later, Zulkarnain Saer Sami in another social media post titled “Preeti’s death has exposed the hypocrisy of Bangladesh’s elite class” has made extreme derogatory comments on The Daily Star, its editor Mahfuz Anam and Shaheen Anam. He wrote:

“… These little girls like Preeti and Ferdousi didn’t even have that option or have developed the mental faculty to make such decisions. But for Bangladesh’s elite class, Anvir and Bashundhara Group are the bogeymen; people like Syed Ashfaqul Haque are innocent and misunderstood and we should reserve our judgement until the police completes its investigation. They have miraculously developed great faith in the integrity of police investigations — the same police investigation into Munia’s death that these people dismissed as made up. Just like Mr Anvir has no regard for the law, Mr Anam, Mr Haque and The Daily Star do not either. I repeat, there is no difference between The Daily Star and Bashundhara Group — both are drunk on power and think they are above the law. From that perspective, Preeti’s death has not been in vain — she’s a hero, she’s a martyr. And oh, can we confidently say that there aren’t any more skeletons in Mr Haque’s closet?”

It may be mentioned here that Zulkarnain Saer Sami teamed-up with a Facebook page named ‘Nagorik TV’ and attempted to extort large amounts of cash from Anvir Sobhan of Bashundhara Group through blackmailing. Unfortunately, this culprit has been patronized and promoted by David Bergman – a British national and Qatari asset who has been repeatedly using Al Jazeera against Bangladesh.

Who is Zulkarnain Saer Sami?

Jihadist-terrorist Zulkarnain Saer Sami with many aliases such as Zulkarnain Saer, alias Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat, who was expelled from Hungary on a number of serious allegations, including connections with transnational drug-trafficking and money-laundering rackets as well as connections with militancy outfits such as Hezbollah and Hamas sought asylum in the United Kingdom with false claim of being a “victim of political harassment” in Bangladesh.

According to Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), which is one of the most comprehensive compendiums of information and analysis of terrorist groups and activities in the world, jihadist Zulkarnain Saer Khan threatened to behead a Hindu rights activist and professor Kushal Baran Chakraborty in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He also regularly terms Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as “terrorist group”; brands leaders of RSS as “top terrorists”.

Most importantly, though he is living in the United Kingdom for the past three years, Zulkarnain has no valid source of income, except for his alleged involvement in extortion, drug trafficking, money-laundering, terror-connection and operating human trafficking rackets that brings illegal immigrants to Britain through the English Channel.

Europe’s leading and most-influential multi-media news channel EuroNews, through a report titled ‘Cryptocurrency, drugs, money laundering: a Hungarian thread in the funding of Hamas’ has further exposed dangerous activities of this jihadist-terrorist.

According to media reports, in Hungary Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami was running a couple of restaurants including an Indian restaurant named ‘Curry House’ located at District, VIII., 1. Horánszky Street – Budapest, Hungary, where under the garb of restaurant business, he was running illegal activities including drug trafficking, money-laundering and terrorist activities.

Zulkarnain Saer on his social media platforms falsely claims to be a former cadet of the Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) while he also claims to be a researcher at Organized Crime and Corruption Project Reporting (OCCRP)’ reporter of Israeli newspaper Haaretz and research analyst at Al Jazeera. What this jihadist-terrorist does not say is – he was expelled from BMA on charges of drug addiction.

According to media reports, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat was bearing Bangladeshi passport number EG0092902 (date of issue May 22, 2020). His birth ID number is 19830007842012539. He also possesses 3 more Bangladeshi passports number B1765649, BJ050260, AC5075647. His driving license number is DK-0014714L00009. His Hungarian ID card number is 000529284. His second wife’s name is Aditia Firoza Khan, Passport number BJ0520244.

Despite the fact that the father’s name of Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat is Mohammed Abdul Baset Khan., in his passports Sami has on-purpose changed his father’s name to “Colonel Wasit Khan” with the ulterior motive of dodging law enforcing agencies from getting hold of his criminal records.

According to information, back in 2001, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat was caught by the Military Police while entering Dhaka Cantonment wearing the uniform of an army Colonel. Later he was released after giving a written bond.

Prior to fleeing Bangladesh for Hungary, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat was arrested on July 21, 2006 in Bangladesh on charges of cheating local businessmen under false identity of an officer of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). A criminal case number 43, dated 21.07.2006 was lodged against him under sections 140, 170, 171, 419, 465, 467, 469 and 472 of the Bangladesh Penal Code.

On May 20, 2022, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat established a company named ‘SAMS INC LTD’ in the United Kingdom. Company number 13411356. The proposed registered office address of this company is: Kemp House, 160 City Road, London, United Kingdom EC1V 2NX. Main reason behind establishment of ‘SAMS INC LTD’ is to shift his illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, money-laundering and maintaining connections with various terrorist outfits.

Hungarian media reports claim Zulkarnain Sami operated several restaurants in Budapest, including VIII. district Curry House Indian restaurant. According to newspaper reports, the man was engaged in illegal activities under the guise of operating restaurants. His restaurants in the Hungarian capital are said to be a meeting point for people connected to illegal activities (money laundering, drug trafficking).


  1. Who is Zulkarnain Sami is? Isn’t he the person who made tons of cash during 2006-2018 by working with some influential figures in Bangladesh? Is he the same person who was arrested in Bangladesh during the rule of BNP on allegations of fraud, extortion and stealing? How he now suddenly emerges as a man with conscience? Why David Bergman is patronizing him? Why organizations like Committee to Protect Journalists consider him as a journalist? Why OCCRP is letting this man use their name for extortion? Shall The Daily Star now investigate this man?

  2. I can bet, The Daily Star shall not make any counter statement on this matter as they fear, some more disturbing truth may come out.


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