“Please, I want my father.”
This was the only appeal of seven-year-old Sumiya, the daughter of Kushtia district Swechchhasebak League secretary Sheikh Sazzad Hossain alias Sabuj, who has remained “missing” for over three years.
Sumiya made the appeal from a press briefing with mother Jannatul Ferdaus Jiniya, brother Sahed Hossain and grandmother Sahida Begum at Jatiya Press Club lounge yesterday.
The family pleaded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to help trace the whereabouts of Sabuj, who went missing from a resort in Gazipur on August 21, 2015.
Sabuj's mother Sahida claimed that Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-1) personnel picked her son up, along with the district Swechchhasebak League president Akteruzzaman Labu and owner of Dream Holiday Resort Moniruzzaman on that day.
Although law enforcers released Labu and Moniruzzaman after five days, they did not release Sabuj, alleged a teary-eyed Sahida.
Asked about the reason, Sahida said her son wanted to contest the mayoral election, but a conflict arose regarding it with expelled district Awami League secretary Mominur Rahman Momiz.
On August 15, 2015, Momiz's group attacked Sabuj and his associates during observance of National Mourning day. “During the clash, a Jubo league activist was killed in the attack, and my son was made accused in the case,” said Sahida.
Later, Sabuj went to Gazipur with Labu, from where Rab-1 arrested them, she said.
“If my son is an accused, then he should be shown arrested but I am not getting any trace of my son,” said Sahida, adding,
"I want my son back. I believe, if the prime minister takes steps, he will return.”
Sabuj's wife Jannatul Ferdaus said, “Every year, my daughter wants to cut her birthday cake with her father, but I have not been able to fulfill her wish.”
While asked about the family claim, Rab's legal and media wing director commander Mufti Mahmud Khan told The Daily Star that the family has made the same claim earlier, adding that the law enforcers did not conduct any operation on that day in Gazipur, and did not arrest anyone with such name.
However, Kushtia Swechchhasebak League president Akteruzzaman Labu said that he was with Sabuj on that day. “I was in separate room, from where Rab arrested me. I did not know anything about Sabuj,” he told our Kushtia correspondent.
Kushtia district AL president Alhaj Sadar Uddin Khan said there was no internal conflict. Sabuj left the district after killing a Jubo Leage activist, which happened over establishing supremacy, he added.