Poet, essayist and political commentator Farhad Mazar is just the latest case. At least 27 people returned to their families after similar ‘mysterious disappearances’ or ‘abductions’.
Most of them could not remember what happened during their disappearance and the rest refrained from going into details.
A total of 284 people had gone missing mysteriously or were allegedly abducted between June 2014 and July 2017, according to records of Ain o Salish Kendra.
The bodies of 44 of them were recovered, 36 were shown arrested, and 27 returned.
And the fate of 177 others remains unknown.
The victims’ relatives said that some unknown persons identifying themselves as members of law enforcing agencies picked up the victims.
Those who returned said they were forced to get into microbuses and taken to unknown places. They, however, didn’t give details.
Rapid Action Battalion’s (RAB’s) legal and media wing director Mufti Mahmud Khan told Prothom Alo that none claimed DB or RAB directly picked up. They said their relatives were picked up in the name of law enforcers, the RAB official said, adding “we are regularly arresting such fake DB and RAB men”.
“Despite the rescue of so many missing people, allegations were raised against us, tainting our image,” added Mufti Mahmud Khan.
After remaining missing for 18 hours, poet Farhad Mazar told Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Tuesday that he was picked up with a microbus and blindfolded in front of his Shyamoli residence.
The Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik told Prothom Alo that not a single incident was settled after mysterious missing or abduction. As result, he pointed out, panic gripped the people, especially the critics of the government.
He insisted that offenders indulged in such crimes have to be detected and brought to book. “The government should take steps to increase the level of trust in law enforcers,” said Shahdeen Malik.
Style of disappearance and rescue similar
The media was vocal about those who returned after they went missing in the past three years. They remained missing from 18 hours up to 7 months.
On 16 April 2014, chief executive of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) Syeda Rizwana Hasan’s husband businessman Abu Bakar Siddique was abducted from Dhaka-Narayanganj link road.
After 34 hours, unidentified persons freed him blindfolded in the city’s Mirpur area. They also tucked Tk 300 in his pocket. With a CNG auto-rickshaw, he reached Dhanmondi and check-post police there took him to the police station.
His wife Syeda Rizwana Hasan filed an abduction case with Fatullah police station. There is no progress in the case.
The plainclothes police picked up Nagorik Oikya (now a political party) convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna from his relative’s house in Banani on 23 April 2015, alleged his wife Meher Nigar. The police, however, denied this.
After remaining missing for 21 hours, he was shown arrested near Star Kebab in the city’s Dhanmondi area.
BNP leader Salahuddin Ahmed was rescued from Shillong in the Indian state of Meghalaya after 62 days of missing from a house in Dhaka’s Uttara area on 10 March 2015. On 12 May, he phoned his wife Hasina Khan from Meghalaya Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science in India. According to Indian police, he was arrested while roaming about near Meghalaya Golf Green area. Salahuddin seemed to be ‘imbalanced’.
He told police that he did not enter India on his own accord. Those who abducted him brought him to India.
The BNP leader did not want to say anything else.
After the Bangladesh Bank cyber heist, Tanveer Ahmed, an ICT expert, gave interviews with the media.
On 16 March 2016, he went missing. After five days, he was found ‘bewildered’ at the airport road. The police brought him to his house.
On 4 August, 2016, Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury’s son Hummam Quader Chowdhury went missing from the court area of old Dhaka.
After about seven months of staying in an unknown place, he returned home.
National Human Rights Commission’s former chairman Mizanur Rahman said, “The common people feel insecure if the state or the law enforcing agencies can’t say anything at a certain time after the missing or abduction of a person”.
“I think there is a flaw in the structure of our security which has to be overhauled”.
Deputy Commissioner of DMP media and publicity unit Masudur Rahman said if the police arrest any man for a proper reason, the detainee is produced before the court.
“If anybody comes to the police with an allegation of abduction, that is looked into with priority,” he added.
Source: Prothom Alo