The speakers made the remarks at an event marking the 23th anniversary of Kalpana’s forced disappearance
Speakers at a roundtable have expressed their frustration and resentment over the investigation into the abduction of rights activist Kalpana Chakma that has been impending for the last 23 years.
Calling for a coordinated movement to this end, they claimed that the people accused in the case filed over the incident, which took place on June 12, 1996, are enjoying immunity as they are members of law enforcement agencies.
The speakers made the remarks at an event marking the 23th anniversary of Kalpana’s forced disappearance, at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Citing a conflict of interest among law enforcement agencies in the impending investigation, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, a senior lawyer, said: “Trial in the case is yet to start, while the abduction is still being investigated.
“The investigation officers (IO) always sought time extension. An IO had even written [to the authorities concerned] to be relieved of his duties in the case,” he said.
Cases involving members of law enforcement agencies barely see justice, he observed, terming the Narayanganj seven-murder case an exception, since it led to both capital punishment and jail terms for several law enforcers.
The prime accused in Kalpana's case, Lieutenant Ferdous (Ferdous Kaysar Khan), was stationed in Mymensingh during 2015-16, but he was yet to be punished as it could demean the force, the lawyer claimed.
Jyotirmoy suggested that rights groups, social platforms and politicians, irrespective of their ideology, join hands to help ensure justice for Kalpana and other women who were abducted, tortured or killed over the years.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Sima Dutta, president of Bangladesh Nari Mukti Kendra, said: “We are not even sure if the investigation in the abduction case is underway.”
She added that she is also sceptical of Kalpana’s family being served justice, since the disposal rate of cases filed over women’s rights violation is very slim.
The women rights campaigner proposed that a platform be floated to fight all kinds of human rights violations against women and help them get justice.
The discussion was addressed by Hill Women’s Federation President Nirupa Chakma, Biplobi Workers’ Party General Secretary Saiful Haq, and Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir President Hasibur Rahman, among others.
Kalpana, the then organizing secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation, was 23 when she was abducted from her village home at New Lalyaghona in Baghaichhari of Rangamati.
Her elder brother, Kalindi Kumar Chakma — an eye witness to the abduction — filed a case a few days after the incident.
The first probe committee of the case was formed under retired justice Abdul Jalil and consisted of three members. Police submitted their initial final report in 2010.