Plainclothes men picked up a book importer from his house in the capital on Wednesday morning, barely a day after a private university teacher had gone missing in the city.
Tanvir Yasin Karim, owner of Karim International and Darus Salam Publications, was taken away by a group of plainclothes men from his house in Gulshan around 5:00am and there was no trace of him since then, said Zakir Hossain, accounts manager of Karim International, quoting Tanvir's mother.
Seeking anonymity, a few other staffers said a group of 20 men went to the bookstore owned by Tanvir in the city's Manipuripara early Wednesday, and picked up two security guards from there.
Taking the guards with them, they then went to Tanvir's flat around 5:00am. As they knocked on the door, Tanvir's mother opened it and asked about their identity. But without identifying themselves, they entered the flat and started searching it, added the staffers quoting his mother.
Later they took away Tanvir and the two guards with them. The guards were released later in the city's Farmgate area. But there was no trace of Tanvir as of last night, said the staffers.
A general diary was filed with the Gulshan Police Station by one of Tanvir's cousins, said the victim's family sources.
Contacted, Abu Bakar Siddique, officer-in-charge of the police station, declined to make any comment without going through the GD.
Tanvir's family members went to the offices of the Detective Branch of police and Rab, but couldn't get any information about him, said the sources.
WAR HERO PICKED UP BY RAB
Yesterday, Rab members picked up Liberation War hero Habibul Alam from the capital's Eskaton and interrogated him for around seven hours over what the elite force claimed was his alleged communication with a gang of fraudsters.
The freedom fighter, who had been confined to the Rab-1 office since 1:30pm, was released around 8:30pm.
Asked, Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of Rab's legal and media wing, said Rab personnel identifying themselves as members of the elite force picked him up from his Eskaton office and took him to Rab-1 office for interrogation after they found his “communication” with a gang of fraudsters.
“He himself might be a victim of the gang... It will be clear after investigation,” he said.
However, Habibul's family members said his office staff informed them in the afternoon that he was picked up by “people from the administration”.
Around 7:00pm, they learnt from news reports on TV channels that Bir Pratik Habibul was actually in Rab custody.
“They could have done this in a proper way. They could have informed us where they were taking my father. We were in fear and uncertainty,” Habibul's daughter Tahseen Alam told The Daily Star last night.
The way the war hero was picked up raised questions among people as incidents of disappearance continue to take place across the country.
Only a couple of days ago, Mubashar Hasan, assistant professor of North South University, had gone missing in the capital, and law enforcers are yet to find any trace of him.
Rights activists and legal experts said law enforcement agencies cannot take away even a criminal the way Habibul was picked up. Law enforcers must identify themselves clearly before picking up anyone.
Habibul was a member of the special squad “Crack Platoon” that shook the confidence of the Pakistan occupation army and unnerved them by commando attacks during the 1971 Liberation War.
Talking to this correspondent, two security guards at the TMC building, which houses Habibul's firm, said eight to ten plainclothes men entered the building around 1.30pm and came down along with Habibul a few minutes later.
Habibul's firm “Information Services Network Ltd (ISN)” is on the third floor of the building.
The plainclothes men talked with Habibul for five to seven minutes in front of the building and then took him away, said the guards -- Saiful Islam and Saidul.
Later, all staffers of Habibul's office came down to the ground floor after the men had left the place by two microbuses and two sport utility vehicles, said the guards.
“They [plainclothes men] entered my father's office around 1:00pm, talked to him for a while, and then left the place taking him with them,” Habibul's daughter Tahseen said, quoting the office staffers.
Seeking anonymity, two of Habibul's employees said the plainclothes men had identified themselves as “people from the administration”.
Human rights activist Nur Khan Liton said no law enforcement agency has any legal authority to pick up any citizen in such a way, let alone a freedom fighter.
“But we are noticing that such incidents are recurring... Law enforcers must identify themselves properly and have some witnesses if they have to pick up someone,” he noted.
Rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua said that if law enforcement agencies pick up a person on certain grounds or as part of regular policing, they have to inform that person's family.
Talking to this newspaper over the phone, he said it has to be looked into whether law was followed properly or Habibul was deprived of his due rights while he was picked up.
Habibul's fellow scout Shariful Islam, who knew the war hero for more than 35 years, said Habibul is a very honest man who even sold his own property to run his business.
"We were shocked by the news," said Shariful, who works at a multinational company in the capital.
About Habibul's bravery during the Liberation War, he said, “Habibul was one of the key men in the very first guerrilla operation carried out at the Hotel Inter-Continental [now Hotel Sheraton] in the heart of Dhaka city by the Mukti Bahini."
NSU TEACHER STILL TRACELESS
Law enforcers were yet to trace Mubashar Hasan, assistant professor of political science at North South University, even almost three days after he had gone missing.
“We haven't been able to find him. We are trying our best,” said Moshiur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Khilgaon Police Station. He also said detectives and members of other police units were working to trace the teacher.
Mubashar has been missing since Tuesday evening. Police said he last talked to someone on his mobile phone at 6:41pm. He was near Lions Eye Hospital at Agargaon at that time.
He reportedly became worried about his security after a man, identifying himself as a student, went to his house on October 25 and searched for him.
Talking to this correspondent yesterday, Mubashar's father Motaher Hossain sought the intervention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government in ensuring the safe return of his son.
“We are scared. We want him back unhurt,” he said.
Meanwhile, the families of Mithun Chowdhury, president of newly-formed Bangladesh Janata Party, and his associate Ashit Ghosh demanded the safe return of the two. They went missing after some men impersonating law enforcers picked them up in the city's Sutrapur area on October 27.
“It has been 13 days and we don't have any idea about their whereabouts. Please bring them back at any cost," Sumona Chowdhury Sima, wife of Mithun, told a press conference at the office of Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh in the city.
“We have the right to know whether they were picked up by law enforcers."
Mithun and Ashit are among the 11 people, who have gone missing or got abducted in the capital since August 22. Only two of them returned.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Ain o Salish Kendra and Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) yesterday expressed deep concern at the NSU teacher going missing.
They also demanded investigation into the recent incidents of disappearance in the country.
In a statement, NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque demanded proper steps to find out Mubashar and hand him over to his family.
He also asked the government to take appropriate measures to stop recurrence of such incidents.
In another statement, Sujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder urged the government to find out those involved in forced disappearances of others and ensure the culprit [s] exemplary punishment.