Families want to know whereabouts

The family members of eight people who had disappeared this time last year from the city’s Shahinbagh and Bashundhara area, allegedly after being picked up by law enforcers, demanded to know their whereabouts and asked the government to return them.

‘I want to see the face of my beloved brother before I die. We want to touch him at least once. Please bring him back to us,’ Ferousi Akhter, elder sister of abducted BNP leader Sajedul Islam Sumon, said, speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Daughter of Sajedul Islam Suman, disappeared in 2013, speaks at a news conference organised by families of eight victims of enforced disappearance in 2013 at National Press Club in Dhaka asking the government to return their beloved ones. — Ali Hossain Mintu

Sumon, 24, the general secretary of BNP ward 38 in Shahinbagh thana, was picked up by people who introduced themselves as members of law enforcement agencies, on December 4, 2013.

Seven other people, including some activists of BNP and its front organisations, were picked up on the same day.

The family members on Thursday demanded justice from the government.

Nusrat Jahan Laboni, sister of Mazharul Islam Rasel, recalled that her brother went to meet Sumon at Block-I in Bashundhara residential area in the evening that day.

Sumon, Rasel, and four others – Asaduzzaman Rana, 27, Al Amin, 26, Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Masum, 22, and Sumon’s cousin Zahidul Karim Tanvir, were picked up by people introducing themselves as members of Rapid Action Battalion.

Laboni said her father had lost his sanity and her mother had taken to the bed since the disappearance.

Another victim Adnan’s mother Kaniz Begum, said ‘RAB men told us they would take Adnan for a few minutes and bring him back. Since then, there has been no trace of him. No agency has admitted to having him. Our faith is broken, our son is gone.’

Kawser, 22, was the eldest son of Kamala Akhter and Belal Hossain. A driver by profession, he was picked up by RAB men around 3:00am from his Shahinbagh house where he was living with his parents.

Kamala said that since their other son lives abroad, Kawser was the main breadwinner for the family.

‘My 70-year old husband has to vend vegetables for livelihood. One will never understand how much pain we are going through,’ said Kamala crying.

The family members appealed to the Prime Minister to take steps to return the disappeared people.

The abducted Masum’s mother Aysha Ali said her son was not criminal. ‘Then why was he picked up? Why will he not be returned?’ she asked.

Attending the press conference, Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said family members of the disappeared people deserve to know the whereabouts and fates of the victims.

‘We all want to know whether they are dead or alive. We want to know what steps the government has taken so far to bring the victims back,’ said Manna.

Manna said that the people in power initiate new laws for protecting themselves, such as the law on the security of the prime minister, but they never care for the security of the people.

‘We never wanted this state. The sprite of independence has been undermined this way,’ Manna added.

  • The New Age