Saturday, March 17, 2018 | ePaper

Seminar on disappearance

Victims, family members forced to keep mum

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Staff Reporter :
The abduction victims and their families often keep mum out of fear when they see occurrences of such incidents one after another, a seminar in Dhaka was told Saturday.  
"We see tall talks in television talk-shows. The talkers repeatedly say that the persons who fell victim to abduction do not open their mouth….. Aren't you (talkers) intelligent enough to understand this matter? How could the victims say anything?" Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Executive Director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), said at the seminar.
The seminar on  'rule of law and role of law enforcement agencies' was organized by Fundamental Rights Protection Committee at Dhaka Reporters Unity in the city's Segun Bagicha.
 "The citizens holding National Identity Cards are getting vanished. Nobody…even RAB,  police, army can say anything about them. Such a situation cannot continue for an indefinite period. Why there is no minimum accountability? They (people) can be detained or questioned any time, but why we (people) would be disappeared?" she questioned.    
Rizwana, whose husband was abducted about three years ago, continued: "If the abduction episode ended after a single incident, the victim along with his family members was supposed to open their mouth. Instead of seeing mystery behind one incident resolved, the countrymen witnessed that seven persons were abducted by the members of security agencies. And the order was passed from such a level that you can't ignore. Then how could one open his or her mouth? This matter (of abduction) has become a part of culture of the law enforcement agencies."
The BELA chief's husband Abu Bakar Siddique was abducted by some unidentified persons while he was travelling to Dhaka from Narayanganj by his car.  The abductors used a car to take away Siddique. He somehow was released two days into the abduction. 
Later, a case was filed with the police station concerned.  But the mystery has not yet unveiled who were behind the abduction despite separate investigations by different agencies.
Narayanganj seven-murder was primarily an enforced disappearance and eventually seven people including a panel-mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation and a lawyer were killed in April 2014.  RAB members, including three top RAB 11 officials, were involved in the abduction and killing.
The BELA chief further said, "The people of Bangladesh have entered in the culture of danger. If anyone tries to register protest of any misdeed, his family members barred him from doing so fearing possible danger. It needs to restore people's trust and confidence to get rid of the present situation."
Echoing the same, Coordinator of the seminar and Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua said, "There are allegations against the law enforcers that they are detaining people without following legal procedure. For that reason, they are committing the crimes by abducting people. As the total procedure is illegal, so there is no way to get legal protection in this regard." 
Clarifying his organizational stance on arranging such a seminar, Committee's member and Executive Director of Ain O Shalish Kendra Nur Khan Liton said, "The failure of the law enforcement agencies to protect the citizens is not acceptable."
One Jasmine Nahar of Satkhira was present at the seminar. Raising allegations against police, she said, "There are specific evidences of staying my husband in the custody for three days. Even, senior judicial magistrate in his report cleared this matter. But police are now denying it. Rather, they are labeling my husband as a militant."  

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