Families of the victims of enforced disappearance on Saturday urged prime minister Sheikh Hasina to focus not only the plights of Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar but also the rights of the people in her own country Bangladesh.
They made the urge at a human chain in front of the National Press Club organised by ‘Mayer Daak,’ (mother’s call), a platform of victim families of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing.
They also called on the government to ‘return’ their relatives before the Eid-ul-Fitr so that they could celebrate the day with happiness.
‘We appreciate our prime minister for highlighting internationally the plights of persecuted Rohingyas. Wherever you [the prime minister] visit abroad, you speak always about the rights of Rohingyas. But, we are citizens of your own country. Please look at us and try to understand our plights too,’ said Jahid Khan, brother of Mahbubur Rahman Sujon, who was picked up allegedly by law enforcers in plain clothes in Narayanganj on December 7, 2013.
He alleged that his brother was picked up because of his involvement in opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Mahbubur along with 18 other opposition activists became victim to enforced disappearance in December 2013, a few weeks before the January 5, 2014 general elections boycotted by all opposition parties.
Like Jahid Khan, other family members and rights activists sought government intervention to ‘return’ their relations.
The rights activists called the government to form and ‘independent’ and ‘acceptable’ judicial commission to identify the perpetrators of the enforced disappearances.
Saleha Begum, mother of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Rampura unit former secretary SM Moazzzem Hossain Topu who was picked up allegedly by law enforcers from Bashundhara residential area on January 26, 2016, said that she had approached every single door of the government but his whereabouts was never known.
She called on the prime minister to find out her son as her entire family and her son were Awami League supporters.
BNP ward unit leader Sajedul Islam Sumon’s sister Marufa Islam Ferdousy said that the government was paying no heed to the calls made by the victim families.
‘We knocked every single door for the return of my brother. We are tried…We want to know the whereabouts of my bothers.’
Shafikur Rahman, the father of the Saifur Rahman Sajib who disappeared on February 18, 2015, also wanted to know the whereabouts of his son and said ‘We cannot organise any prayer for my son because I am not sure where he is.’
Independent rights activist Nur Khan Liton said, ‘Each of the cases has similar description. And even in many cases, Rapid Action Battalion members took victims from their family members.’
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said that the families of the victims of enforced disappearance should know whether the victims were alive or dead, as the families could not even pray for them.
He also criticized the continued killings by the law enforcers in the name of anti-drug drives.
Members from rights organisation Odhikar, Jatiya Mukti Council general secretary Faizul Hakim Lala, and Jatiya Manobadikar Samity chairman Manjur Hossain Esa, among others, joined the human chain.
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