Over the last several months, relatives have been organizing rallies, seminars and human chains demanding whereabouts of their ‘abducted or missing’ family members.
The return of missing private university teacher Mubashar Hasan Cesar and journalist Utpal Das within two days of each other has lit candle of hope in the hearts of families of the other missing persons.
At least 15 people have gone missing or abducted, as their families claim, under unclear circumstances from various parts of Dhaka in the last four months.
Eleven of them, including Cesar and Utpal, have returned.
The others are IFIC Bank official Shamim Ahmed, Bangladesh Janata Party (BJP) President Mithun Chowdhury, the party’s central leader Asit Ghosh, Honorary Consul of Belarus Aniruddha Kumar Roy, former engineer of Nokia-Siemens Asaduzzaman Asad, Pharmacist of Sanofi-Aventis Jamal Rahman, fruit trader Giasuddin, publisher Tanvir Yasin Karim, and Kalyan Party's Secretary General MM Aminur Rahman.
Cesar returned on December 19 and Utpal on December 21.
The long wait
Former Bangladesh ambassador Maroof Zaman went missing on December 4 when he was going to receive his daughter at the airport.
Police recovered his abandoned vehicle from Khilkhet’s 300 feet road.
“There’s no update about my father,” his daughter Samiha Zaman said. “We are not getting any updates. I don’t understand why it is taking so much time. I just want my father back.”
Maroof’s younger brother Rifat Zaman said: “Police have not been able to find him yet. Nobody’s saying anything. We want him back at any cost. We are waiting for his return.”
The wait is long for the family members of BNP’s central executive committee member and ABN Group Managing Director Syed Sadat Ahmed.
He was abducted from the Airport Road near the cantonment police station on August 22.
The kidnappers took away his mobile phone and laptop but left his car.
ABN Group’s Manager Nazrul Islam claimed that Sadat had been abducted by seven to eight people identifying themselves as law enforcers.
Sadat’s wife Luna said her husband was kidnapped on the way to the office.
“He had a laptop and two mobile phones in the car. Two instant messengers (Viber and Whatsapp) installed in his phone were found active twice on August 24 and September 11,” she said.
“They have been inactive since then.”
She hoped her husband would return soon like the others.
Like Sadat, 20-year-old Ishrak Ahmed has been missing since August 25. The McGill University of Canada student, who came to Bangladesh on a holiday, went missing from Dhaka’s Dhanmondi area.
His father Jamaluddin Ahmed filed a general Diary with Dhanmondi police station.
Officer-in-Charge Abdul Latif said they were yet to make any progress in tracing Ishrak. “We are trying,” he said.
Laundry businessman Sirajul Haq Mintu was abducted from in front of Dhanmondi’s Ibn Sina around 3pm on December 17. The whole incident was witnessed by one of his friends who was with him at that time.
Sirajul’s only child Raian Haq Prithvi has been crying nonstop ever since the incident that took place barely a month after her mother’s death.
Prithvi is currently staying with her maternal uncles. Sirajul’s brother-in-law Niaz Mohammad said the child would fall sick thinking about her father.
“She does not have anyone other than her father. Her mother has passed away and now, her father has been abducted,” Niaz said. “The child often breaks down in tears.”
“Journalist Utpal and [private university] teacher Mubashar have returned,” he said. “Like everyone else, we, too, hope that Mintu will come back safely to us, to his daughter.”
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune