Fayas Ahmed, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kaladan Press Network, passed away on July 30 at the Chittagong Metropolitan Hospital after a heart attack.
He is survived by his wife, six sons, five daughters and grandchildren. He was 66.
Mr Ahmed was born in Buthidaung township, Rakhine (Arakan) State. He studied at the Bassein Degree College and the Sittwe Intermediate College before completing his higher education in Mawlamyine, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in marine biology.
He initially set out on a career as a teacher, working in state schools in Buthidaung. He started off as a primary assistant teacher, and worked his way up to a post at a middle school in Tuang Bazaar, followed by a job as senior assistant teacher at the Buthidaung State High School.
His teaching career was interrupted in 1985 when he abruptly had to flee Myanmar, leaving behind his family, home and job after being alerted that he was wanted by the Military Intelligence Services. He took refuge in Bangladesh, where he would stay for the rest of his life.
While family members settled in the United Arab Emirates urged Mr Ahmed to emigrate, he instead joined the Rohingya Solidarity Organization in Bangladesh in order to fight for Rohingya rights. He became a member RSO’s central committee, and also joined the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front, later the Arakan Rohingya National Organization.
In 2001, Mr Ahmed founded Kaladan Press Network as the first Rohingya news agency. He continued to work as the editor-in-chief and some-time columnist until his death. Rohingya Vision, a Malaysia-based Rohingya TV channel, yesterday expressed grief at Mr Ahmed’s passing, noting that they “deeply mourned” their colleague’s death.
U Tin Soe, Kaladan’s Executive Editor, will now lead the newsroom.
“We – Kaladan Press – made a ceremony of praying for Fayas through the Islamic system and Rohingya tradition,” he said.