DhakaTribune – Abduction: An unsolved mystery

(Written by Kailash Sarkar)

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27 April 2014 - After the release of Siddique, top police officials said they would continue with the investigation in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding his abduction

Mysteries over the incidences of recent abductions still remain unsolved even after the return of the victims or their release by those who have picked them up, posing as the members of law enforcement agencies.

The victims and their family members or even their relatives usually keep mum or avoid talking about enforced disappearances due to unknown reasons while the law enforcement agencies are yet to solve these mysteries.

The increasing incidences of enforced disappearances have caused concern among the country’s people and different human rights bodies have also raised voice, alleging that the incidents of enforced disappearances are just replacement for extrajudicial killings by the lawmen.

“Please let me live with my family in peace. I do not want to talk about it and remember those days in my life,” said Abul Hasnat Pauline, a resident of Mirpur who got release after his abduction.

Pauline, who is a contractor by profession, returned on April 20 after he had been picked up from in front of BAF Shaheen School in the capital on February 9. “To avoid you (journalists), I am living elsewhere. I am sick and undergoing treatment in a hospital. I am not interested to talk about the incident,” he told this correspondent over phone.

He also declined to comment about who had picked him up and how he got release. During visit to his house in Mirpur, his family members said he (Pauline) was not at home.

But none of his family members agreed to disclose his whereabouts. Rather they were found busy offering prayers at different mosques and mazars alongside serving food among orphans for his safe return.

His father-in-law Mashiur Rahman said they do not want to know about the cause of abduction of Pauline. “We are much happy with the return of my son-in-law.”

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, at least three such victims declined to make it clear or narrate actually what had happened to them, who had picked them up and why they were set free. All of them had avoided all the questions, saying that they could not guess anything as they had been abducted blindfolded.

In another incident, former employee of a stationery shop Mahiuddin Ahad, 26, claimed to have been dropped at Section 10 in Mirpur by a microbus on March 6 after he had been picked up by some people in the guise of RAB personnel from his house in Mirpur.

While talking to this correspondent, he avoided talking on his story, claiming that he could not recognise the persons who had picked him up. “I do not know why they abducted me and released me.” He said, “At least two among the people who picked me up were wearing black uniform like RAB men. They confined me in a room blindfolded and told me nothing. Although they always kept me in handcuffs, I am not sure whether they were RAB men.”

“I was dropped from a microbus around 4:00am and asked not to look behind,” he said. His parents said they were happy with the return of their son and they had no interest to know about those who kidnapped their son and why.

Businessman Abu Bakar Siddique, husband of BELA’s chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, also claimed to have been dropped from a microbus at Section 1 in Mirpur at night on April 17, over 30 hours after he was kidnapped by a gang of armed criminals on April 16 on way to Dhaka from his workplace at Fatullah in Narayanganj.

Even though the incident shook up the people at home and abroad, the authorities concerned are yet to hunt down the kidnappers.

Even the car used to kidnap him still remained untraced. Immediately after his abduction, the police headquarters formed a five-member committee and police in Narayanganj constituted a 12-member body, but no headway has been made yet in probe into the case.

After the release of Siddique, top police officials said they would continue with the investigation in a bid to unravel the mystery surrounding his abduction. Siddique said he could not recognise the “criminals” who picked him up and even he did not know why they kidnapped him.

His wife said her husband was not kidnapped for his own activities and business related issues. She suspected that her husband was kidnapped for her own activities, saying that the kidnappers were powerful.

Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Syed Nurul Islam said the investigation was going on and they would inform if any headway was made.

The three persons — Pauline, Ahad and Siddique — were dropped in Mirpur area, but police officials concerned could not provide any information about the incidents.

Imtiyaz Ahmed, deputy commissioner of Mirpur division said, “We are still investigating the incidents to unravel the mysteries behind the abduction of Pauline and Ahad as well as dropping of Siddique in Mirpur area. Our investigation is on even after their release. But there is no headway yet.”

Wing Commander ATM Habibur Rahman, director of Legal and Media Wing of RAB, said in many cases, the families of the victims used to bring allegations against the lawmen, but after the return of a number of victims, none of them said that they were kidnapped by RAB men.

“It means that RAB is not involved in such illicit acts. Rather, RAB is always trying to rescue the victims,” he claimed. He, however, said they were trying to unravel the mysteries over all the incidents of disappearances.