As millions have been rushing home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with near and dear ones, families of eight missing people, allegedly abducted by Rab eight months ago, took to the street yesterday demanding their return home.
They expressed their desire, with tears in eyes, to share the happy moments with their missing family members during Eid.
The families formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital after arranging a press conference, which was attended by the country's eminent citizens.
“I want to get back my brother and share the happy moments with him,” said Ferdousi Islam, whose brother Sajedul Islam Suman is among the eight missing people.
“Standing here, I still believe my brother will return home,” she told the press conference. The families claimed Suman and five others had been picked up from Bashundhara Residential Area and the two others from Shaheenbagh in the capital in six hours on December 4-5 last year. They were picked up allegedly by Rapid Action Battalion -1 personnel.
The other missing people are Zahidul Karim Tanvir, Mazharul Islam Rasel, Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Masum, Asaduzzaman Rana, Al Amin, Adnan Chowdhury and Kawsar Ahmed.
Their families urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to intervene so that they could be traced.
“Masum used to dream to be a banker. He loved to share such dreams with his relatives and friends. It is hard to believe that he has been missing for more than eight months,” said his brother Arju.
Speaking at the press conference, eminent jurist Shahdeen Malik said the army personnel serving at Rab on deputation should not be recruited for the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
“Army personnel are recruited from Bangladesh [for the UN peacekeeping mission]. Recruit them, but don't recruit those, who were in the Rab… We all have learned that Rab kills people,” he said.
Dr Malik also slammed those who praised Rab's activities despite being aware of the elite force's alleged involvement in crimes.
“Many [people] still talk in favour of Rab and praise its activities. How can they praise such a force that kills people?” he questioned.
Shireen Huq of Naripokkho said rights activists too were becoming helpless to console the victims' families, as the government was apparently not taking any action.
Contacted, Rab Director General Mukhlesur Rahman said they had yet to find any clue to Rab members' involvement in the alleged abduction.
He added that the elite force was working on to rescue the eight.