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Out of tears

  • Published at 02:21 am August 30th, 2017
Out of tears
Family members of the disappeared plead with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to help find their loved ones before Eid-Ul-Azha. “Please bring my papa back to me. I want to celebrate Eid with papa,” implored Hridi in a heartbreaking plea to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Hridi, the young daughter of Parvez Hossain, who went missing three years and eight months ago, added that she would wait for her father to go shopping for Eid. Another child named Ahad, whose father Khaled Hasan Sohel has also gone missing said: “I miss my father very much. I want him back. I want him home for Eid.” Apart from Hridi and Ahad, Lamia and Ariyan, aged from eight to 12 also yearn for their fathers who have been missing for a long period of time. August 30 marks the International Day of the Disappeared, which focuses on the people who have gone missing with their whereabouts completely unknown to their relatives. Family members of 29 alleged victims of enforced disappearance shared their grief at a discussion organised by ‘Mayer Dak’ at National Press Club’s VIP Lounge on Tuesday. Bearing the slogan “Give back disappeared sons to their mothers before Eid”, the victims’ family members demanded the formation of an independent probe commission saying they would take tougher measures from December if no action was taken immediately. Some cried. Others said even their tears had run dry after years of waiting for loved ones to return. Mother of Masum who was a third year student of Government Titumir College, said: “My son has been missing for three years and eight months. Miscreants picked him up. I had many dreams for my child. Only sorrow and anxiety fill my days. When will the waiting end?” Addressing the premier, she also said: “Honourable PM, our sons can come back if you want them to. We know you have felt the pain of losing family members.” Some mothers broke down and were unable to speak at all. Mahmudur Rahman Manna, convener of Nagarik Oikyo, presided over the discussion. Jharna Khanom, wife of KM Shamim Akhter said: “Shamim was forcibly disappeared in October 2011. Forget about justice for the time being. I do not even know where my husband is. The government did not play its role properly.” Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s bodyguard Quazi Motin, whose son Quazi Rakibul Hasan Shaon disappeared in 2014, said: “My son was organising secretary of Bangladesh Chatra League’s Comilla Victoria College unit. I sought help from everyone. I even went to the prime minister. Now I am helpless.” Director ASM Nasir Uddin of Odhikar, a Bangladesh-based human rights organisation said: “The home minister said there is no such thing enforced disappearance. When the law enforcement agencies pick up common people on a regular basis, does the government act to stop this?” Dhaka University’s Law Department Professor Asif Nazrul said: “We assume that the premier does not hear the cries of these families.” Naripakkho Member Shirin Haq said: “We are all frustrated now. We have no place to turn.” Human rights activist Nur Khan Liton, also the former executive director of Ain O Salish Kendro, said it was the government’s job to safeguard the lives and liberty of citizens.