Three years have gone by without a trace or a word from Al Amin, the eldest son of Ahmed Ullah, since he was allegedly picked up by plainclothed RAB men on that fateful day.
Al Amin’s family lives in Badda, Dhaka where the perpetual shadow of his disappearance hangs over the air, a constant reminder that something is amiss.
His mother Jesmin Begum still waits for him even though she knows that she will never see him again. His brother Ruhul Amin told the Dhaka Tribune that his mother, in her own way of coping with his brother’s disappearance, asks his father about Al Amin’s whereabouts every day only to meet with silence as an answer.
Nobody knows where he is or if he is alive. Police have done very little so far in helping the family find him or his remains.
[caption id="attachment_37966" align="alignnone" width="800"]
Hajera Khatun, mother of Sajedul Islam, takes a moment to collect herself during a press conference organised for the victims of forced disappearance at the National Press Club in 2014. In the background, photos of missing Mazharul Islam Rasel (left) and Asaduzzaman Rana (right) can be seen MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
Ahmed Ullah, 55, supports his family by running a small shop, something he wished he did not have to do any more. His eldest son was supposed to help him support the family – Ahmed has two other sons who are still in school, and bills have to be paid.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, he said every year around the time of his son’s disappearance, journalists come asking the same old questions making him relive the terrible days of 2013. Then the media attention dies down and everyone forgets about his family and their trauma.
Al Amin was not only a student, however; he was involved with Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the student wing of the BNP which was the reason he was picked up, his family claim.
He was allegedly picked up with seven other people by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB 1) between 8pm to 2am that day.
However, police took only the case filed by Al Amin’s family and not the seven other cases.
[caption id="attachment_37968" align="alignnone" width="800"]
Lamiya Akhter Mim, daughter of Abu Kawsar, holding her father’s photo during a human chain in front of the National Press Club in 2014 MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
Ahmed Ullah filed a general diary (GD) with Badda police station on December 5, 2013 and another one with Bathara police station on January 14, 2014, known as Case 24, where the family alleged that the police only wrote down “abductors” even though eyewitness accounts repeatedly said it was a RAB vehicle the men came out of.
According to the case, some plainclothed men picked Al Amin up in a white microbus in Bashundhara residential area that night.
Bhatara police OC (Operation) Mohammad Shafiullah told the Dhaka Tribune that the case was sent to the Detective Branch (DB) of police as Al Amin’s parents asked for the case to be transferred there.
RAB Media and Legal Wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan could not be reached over the phone for a comment in this regard.
But a RAB official, asking not to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were aware of the allegations, and if any official is found to be involved, stern actions will be taken against them.
[caption id="attachment_37969" align="alignnone" width="800"]
Family members of forced disappearance victims and rights activists form a human chain in front of the National Press Club. The photo was taken in 2014 MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU
The other abductees are BNP leader Sajedul Islam, Zahidul Karim Tanvir and Mazharul Islam Rasel from Paschim Nakhalpara, Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Masum from Purba Nakhalpara and Asaduzzaman Rana from Mugdapara.
Between November and December of 2013, some 12 people went missing or was allegedly picked up by RAB.
Khalid Hasan Sohel went missing on November 28, 2013 from Old Dhaka Central Jail gate area.
Zahirul Islam alias Habibul Basher Zahir, Parvez Hossain, M Sohel and M Hossain Chanchal went missing on December 2 from Shahbagh.
Nizam Uddin Munna and Tariqul Islam Jhantu went missing from Dakkhinkhan’s Mollartek on December 6.
Mahbub Hasan and Kazi Farhad went missing on December 7 from Sabujbagh area.
Selim Reza Pintu went missing from Mirpur’s Pallabi area on December 11.
Quoting eyewitnesses, families claimed that RAB 1 personnel picked up Sajedul and five others from Bashundhara Residential Area on the night of December 4.