Five years of mysterious disappearances: ‘Parties in their election manifesto, must clarify their stand on mysterious disappearances’

Five years of mysterious disappearances: ‘Parties in their election manifesto, must clarify their stand on mysterious disappearances’

  • Dhaka Tribune December 4th, 2018
web-mysterious disappearances’ -mayer dak

Family members of Sazedul Islam Sumon who was allegedly picked up by RAB in December, 2013, break into tears during a press conference on December 4, 2018
Syed Zakir Hossain/ Dhaka Tribune

According to an estimate based on the news reports from rights group Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), at least 310 people has disappeared in Bangladesh between 2014 and August, 2018

Every political party, participating in the upcoming general election, must clarify their stand on enforce disappearances in their election manifesto, victim family members of enforced disappearance demanded.

Marufa Islam Ferdousi, elder sister of BNP leader Sazedul Islam Sumon, general secretary of BNP’s Ward 38 unit, who was allegedly picked up by RAB in December, 2013, read out the demand on behalf of the families at a press conference arranged by Mayer Dak (a group where more than 50 such victim families gathered).

She said they have a demand towards the political parties who are preparing for upcoming election.

“Parties must clarify their stands on enforce disappearance in their election manifesto. They should ensure what would be their strategic position to tackle enforced disappearances if they form government. Or rejecting the heinous path they would ensure human rights for all.”

Terming right to cast vote as a constitutional right, she urged the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to issue an order to trace out the missing people in a bid to ensure right to cast vote for all.

Also Read- Why does the mystery behind missing people remain unsolved?

She called upon the citizens not to cast their vote for such a party who cannot clarify its stand in its manifesto.

“We are suffering today after losing our dears ones. If you remain silent despite having opportunity to speak, who knows, you may suffer in future? She questioned. Now it’s your decision,” she said.

Five years have been passed since our family members have been missing. Many senior citizens of the victim families have passed away with unfulfilled desires of seeing their children at their death bed, but none of the disappeared persons have returned, Marufa Ferdousi lamented.

“We have cried a lot. We don’t want to cry more. We want to know why our dear ones have disappeared. What was their fault? We are at the brink of our patience, we want either their return or death of us all,” she said crying.

ASK’s estimate

According to an estimate based on the news reports from rights group Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), at least 310 people has disappeared in Bangladesh between 2014 and August, 2018.

Of them, bodies of 44 were recovered, 33 returned alive, and 45 were later shown arrested. The rest still remain untraced.

At least 26 people disappeared till November 30 this year among them two returned home and ten people were shown arrested, ASK said.

‘Authorities in purposive denial’

Speakers blamed the government for not dealing with disappearance cases purposely. They said most of the disappeared people are against the ruling party interest or have opposite political identity.

Dhaka University Law Department Professor Asif Nazrul said we have observed that most of the victims of the disappearance were the leaders and activists of opposite political parties. It compels us to assume that it is happening in a planned way.

The number of enforced disappearances has already went higher and time has come to raise question over disappearances, he said adding that unfortunately people who could raise question becoming  limited in our society.

Also Read- Mysterious disappearances: Families anxiously await those who remain missing

Nagorik Okkya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna blamed the government for the situation sustaining right now. He said those who have to be alert over the issue have become irresponsible.

“They are performing the role of a monster. The way a monster eats a human being, the government and its people are eating up people. No one will get justice from them.”

He urged all to overthrow the current government by not casting vote in its favor to ensure constitutional and human rights for all.

Ganasanghati Andolon Chief Coordinator Zonayed Saki said “Law enforcing agencies are responsible to safeguard people and justify their rights and to establish rule of law. But when law enforcement agencies themselves abduct a person defying the laws, they don’t have any right to implement laws.”

Breaching laws on one hand and urging people to obey laws on other is contradictory. No one will accept it, he said adding that the way you are trying to save guard your autocratic power by breaching all laws, breaching constitutional rights of people and enforced disappearances, it would not only destroy your dreams, but also endanger the country in future.

The only safer place is a successful democratic country, that is needed to be established, he said.

Among others, Comrade Khalequzzaman and BNP leader Tabith M Awal were present at the program. Besides, the family members of the victims who went missing in the last 5 years were also present at the program.

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