At least 526 people were subjected to enforced disappearance in the last ten years across Bangladesh, according to an organisation that works with family members of such victims.
Maayer Dak (Mother’s Call), a non-government organisation, released the figure at a programme in the capital on Friday. The programme was arranged marking the International Day of the Victims of Involuntary Disappearances.
The figure is based on a survey of US-based Human Rights Foundation, said Jyotirmoy Barua, a Supreme Court lawyer, who was present in the programme.
The family members of the victims of enforced disappearances who attended the programme called for justice. They demanded an impartial and independent probe commission to investigate such incidents.
“Five years ago. It was midnight when some men in plain clothes came to my house and identified themselves as RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) officials. They blindfolded my son with a towel and picked him up. Till today, we do not know if he is alive," said broken-hearted Rowshan Ara Begum, mother of the victim.
Mahbubur Rahman Ripon, a Juba Dal leader in Feni, was picked up from his house on March 20, 2014.
“Without giving an explanation, some law enforcement agency members took him away. He never came back,” Ripon’s mother said.
Abdul Kaiyum, brother of another victim Rasel, said law enforcement officials picked his brother up from Sherpur.
"I do not know where my brother is. I have gone to every possible place where I could find him but nobody helped me. Asking for information about Rasel has also become a security concern for me. As I am speaking here today, I am not sure if I will be able to return to Sherpur," Kaiyum said.
Many others voiced the same agony and frustration at the programme.
Hazera Kahtun, convener of Maayer Dak, Asif Nazrul, professor of law at the University of Dhaka, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, convener of Nagorik Oikya, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, and Zonayed Saki, chief coordinator of Gonosonhoti Andolon, were present in the programme among others.