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12:00 AM, August 28, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:24 AM, August 28, 2016

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Families of 13 victims of enforced disappearance plead with the govt

Families of 13 enforced disappearance victims yesterday made a desperate appeal to the government to take sincere measures to find their near and dear ones.

They made the plea at a discussion programme at the Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium in the capital.

Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights, a rights body, organised the programme to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances to be observed on August 30.

The 13 victims, including the son of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's bodyguard Kazi Abdul Matin, had gone missing between 2012 and 2015.

Of them, 12 were picked up allegedly by members of law enforcement agencies from different areas of the capital, while one was taken from Comilla.

Other than the 13, eight youths -- mostly students or people who had just finished their studies -- were picked up from the city's Bashundhara Residential Area on the night of December 4, 2013.

“I am a freedom fighter, a member of Bangabandhu's bodyguard team. I am also a member of the Awami League. But nothing could prevent the law enforcement agencies from picking up my son in the early hours of March 24, 2014,” Matin, father of Shaon, said in an emotion chalked voice.

“My son was the organising secretary of Comilla Victoria College unit of Chhatra League. He later joined Jubo League. There was not a single case or a general diary filed against my son with any police station in Comilla or elsewhere in the country,” he said.

“I sought help from police officials and ministers in the last three years. But no one could tell the whereabouts of my son. I didn't get any assurance from any minister I visited,” he added.

“Is this the country we dreamt of and fought for?” asked Matin.

Shamsuddin, father of Nizam Uddin Munna, alleged that Rab men picked up his son from his house in 2013 and since then he has been missing.

“I urge the state, please at least inform us if my son is still alive or law enforcers have killed him. If he is dead, give his body back to us so that we can bury him ...” Shamsuddin said.

Shammi Akhtar, wife of Khalid Hasan Sohel, said their six-year-old son ask her almost every day when his father would return home. “To console my son, I tell him your father has gone abroad and will come back soon.”

“My sorrow knows no bounds when Eid comes, as the little boy cry to celebrate Eid with his father. I can't do anything other than shedding tears at that time.”

Shammi alleged that police and Rab arrested her husband, president of ward-89 Dhaka City unit of Chhatra Dal, two years and 10 months ago. “Since then, we haven't got any information about him. Law enforcement agencies are not providing any information to us about his whereabouts,” said a crying Shammi.

Members of Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights, Shahdeen Malik, Nur Khan, Syed Abul Maksud said the government would not be able to tackle militancy unless it stops enforced disappearance and extra judicial killings.

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