South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Rashidul Hasan

Disappearance of people has become a phenomenon so widespread that it worries the rights activists and the chief of the National Human Rights Commission.

The trend of disappearance and mysterious killings has taken an alarming turn a year after the Awami League-led grand alliance came to power in January 2009.

Speaking at a discussion in the capital yesterday, Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman said, “We are concerned over police and Rab personnel taking away people. Some just disappear while some end up being bodies dumped on roads.

“We never wanted this Bangladesh. This cannot be the spirit of our Liberation War; this is certainly violation of human rights.”

The programme was organised to mark the fifth founding anniversary of Bangladesh Human Rights Forum at the National Museum.

“Human rights cannot be protected without assistance from the state. Unfortunately, the state itself violates human rights, and yet we have to turn to it for redressing the situation,” said a lamenting Mizanur.

In a report published yesterday, human rights group Odhikar said 17 people have been missing since being picked up by law enforcers in the last nine months.

It called on the government to put an end to all extra-judicial killings, torture and forced disappearances.

On November 25 last year, rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra said 22 people were reported to have disappeared in eight months since January 2010.

Citing newspaper reports, its officials said the actual number would be much higher. Many families are too scared to report that law enforcement agencies are behind the disappearance of their loved ones.

In October last year, three youths disappeared during clashes between villagers and law enforcers in Rupganj over purchase of land for an army housing project.

The Daily Star ran a report a month after that incident. Family members of the victims at that time said they were certain the three would never return. They even held milad mahfil (special prayers) at local mosques to pray for their “departed souls”.

Dhaka City Corporation councillor and BNP leader Chowdhury Alam has been without a trace since he was allegedly abducted by some law enforcers late in the evening of June 25, 2010.

The number of secret-murder victims has also increased in the city over the last few years.

The Daily Star on May 6 last year reported that seven people were killed in mysterious circumstances in last nine days. It was a clear indication that such killings were on the rise.

Source: The Daily Star – 03.10.2011