Returning home on Friday after 44 days in captivity, North South University (NSU) teacher DrMubashar Hasan Cesar recalled the moments when his life seemed in jeopardy.
Mubashar, an assistant professor at NSU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was picked up by unidentified abductors from Dhaka’s RokeyaSharani on November 7.
He was only finally released Friday following a harrowing six-week ordeal at the hands of his kidnappers.
“My abductors argued over whether to kill me, before finally deciding to release me at 1am,” he said.
“After they let me go, they said they would kill me if I looked back.”
Following his release near Airport Road, Mubashar said he hired an auto-rickshaw and phoned his family, asking them to be ready to pay the driver on arrival as he had no money.
Mubashar’s father, Motahar Hossain, described receiving the phone call to the Dhaka Tribune on Friday morning.
“He called us up and told us that he does not have money to pay the autorickshaw driver, so we went downstairs and paid the fare,” Motahar said.
Mubashar’s sister, TamannaTasnim, also confirmed her brother’s safe return in a Facebook post earlier in the morning, before telling journalists: “He is in a shock and traumatized.”
Mubashar told reporters on Friday that he had been travelling home in an Uber via Agargaon on the evening he was abducted early last month.
“The abductors stopped my car as it reached RokeyaSharani,” he said.
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“As far as I can recall, they asked me to get down from the vehicle, saying that it was a stolen car. After getting down, someone rubbed balm in my eyes from behind and then pushed me inside a microbus.
“They put something in my mouth when I was in the microbus and I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I found myself in a dark room with my hands tied behind my back.”
Mubashar added that the room was bare with the exception of a dirty quilt, and had a window which was boarded shut. He was given cold food that appeared to be from a hotel.
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North South University (NSU) teacher Dr Mubashar Hasan Cesar shares his 44-day abduction experience with journalist on Friday; December 22, 2017 Courtesy
He said: “There was another room from where I could hear four to five people talking, mostly about money and some other things. They hid their faces with a rag whenever they entered the room I was in.”
The NSU teacher could not imagine the reason behind his abduction.
“They might have thought that I was a rich person,” he said. “They could not find out my profile as I have worked in many different places. I had Tk27,000 with me, which they took.”
Khilgaon police station Officer-in-Charge Moshiur said he had heard about Mubashar’s return from his family members. “We will talk to him in the afternoon,” he said.
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Who is Dr Mubashar?
NSU teacher Dr Mubashar Hasan is an experienced public relations strategist who has worked in the past as an adviser for the Bangladesh government, and is highly regarded as an academic researcher by his colleagues and peers.
He studied media studies and journalism at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) before completing his graduate and postgraduate degrees in Journalism at Dhaka University.
Mubashar went to the University of Dundee in the UK in 2006 to study globalisation. He also took an Mlit course on “Muslims, Globalisation and the West” at the University of Aberdeen, UK, in 2009.
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Subsequently, he returned to Bangladesh and joined Oxfam as a public relations and communications specialist. He was a spokesperson for Oxfam Pakistan in 2010 for two months, before joining Oxfam in Dhaka.
Mubashar left his job at Oxfam a few years later to pursue a Phd in political science and government at Griffith University, where he published his thesis titled “Geopolitics of Political Islam in Bangladesh”.
His work has been published by Oxford University Press, Sage, Taylor and Francis, Harvard University Asia Centre and Willey.
He also worked as a journalist for IRIN News and bdnews24.com, in addition to stints at BBC World Service Trust, Practical Action, and Global Development Network in Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.
Recently, Dr Hasan and one of his colleagues had begun an international relations and politics blog named “Alochonaa”, in order to foster dialogue. Many of his professional acquaintances have pointed out the presence of controversial and sensitive issues in his line of research.