“The most significant human rights problems were enforced disappearances, discrimination against marginalized groups, and poor working conditions and labor rights. Suspected extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and kidnappings continued, with human rights groups alleging the involvement of the country’s security services. Marginalized groups, particularly Rohingya refugees, indigenous people, and women, suffered from unequal treatment and in some instances violence.”
These were the remarks of the US Human Rights Report on Bangladesh of the last year, 2012. This situation doesn’t change a bit in year 2013 as well.
Human rights groups claim more than 100 opposition figures have gone missing since Bangladesh’s transition to democracy over four years ago. And local rights group Ain-O-Salish Kendra say that at least 22 people have disappeared in last year, 2012.
As per an Al Jazeera report, statistics show that since the ruling Bangladesh Awami League came to power, murder in police custody has increased. Activists claim police are spared legal action as they act on directives from ruling party leaders. But the government denies the allegations.
However, a case of abduction is illustrated below which will reflect the situation of Bangladesh and the agony of the sufferers.
Abduction of Al Mukaddas and Waliullah
Al Mukaddas, a student of Dawah and Fiqh Department of Islamic University Kushtia (IU) was abducted by security forces on 4th February 2012 along with another student of IU Waliullah. Till today, no trace of any of them was found.
Al Mukaddas came to Dhaka on 2nd February 2012 for some personal purpose. Waliullah came to Dhaka on 3rd February. Both of them intended to return to Kushtia on 4th February midnight by a bus of Hanif Enterprise (Bus no – Jhenaidah 3750) where two seats (C1 & C2) were booked for them in the name of Wali. The bus was intercepted at Savar at around midnight 1:00 am. A few RAB personnel and plain clothed DB police got on board and took both of them down. Then they were taken into a white Microbus waiting outside. All of those were testified by Sumon, the supervisor of the Bus.
However, Police, RAB and other security forces expressly denied the fact of abduction of those two students. Despite the claims of the family and friends and the testimony of the witnesses, they did not admit that operation till today and the fact is, two brilliant youth Al Mukaddas and Waliullah disappeared forever.
i. General Diary
Family members of Waliullah and Al Mukaddas immediately contacted RAB, DB and police but none of them gave any clue about them. This had made a huge concern upon their well wishers and two separate GDs were filed at Dhaka. Abdul Hai, uncle of Al Mukaddas filed a GD (General Diary No 317) at Darus Salam Police Station and Khaled Saifullah, brother of Waliullah filed another (General Diary No 525) at Ashulia Police Station.
Protest against Enforced Disappearance by their classmates
ii. Writ Petition at Supreme Court
A Writ Petition was filed to the High Court Division on 14th February, 2012 by Abdul Hai, uncle of Al Mukaddas and Khaled Saifullah, brother of Waliullah. The petition stated their abduction and seeks remedies on –
1. The current status of Waliullah and Al Mukaddas
2. To declare their detention as illegal
3. Issuing the order of their freedom
4. To produce them before the Court.
In the hearing of the Writ, Court stated to the Deputy Attorney General, “What have you started? This Country will be there, Constitution will be their but this Govt. may not be!!!” Advocate Tajul Islam filed the writ on behalf of the petitioners and Deputy Attorney General Rashed Jahangir represented the Govt.
After hearing, High Court Division Bench comprised of Justice Abdul Awal and Justice Akram Hossain issued a Rule to the Govt. on 15th February ordering to show cause –
1. Why Al Mukaddas and Waliullah should not brought to the Court physically?
2. Why their detention should not be declared as illegal?
The rule was directed to the Secretary of Home Affairs, Inspector General of Police, Chief of DB, Director General of RAB, Dhaka District Commissioner and Police Super, Kushtia District Commissioner and Police Super and Officer in Charge of IU Police Station to respond within nine weeks.
However, it has been almost a year and a half since the abduction and the rule, nothing positive have happened so far for Al Mukaddas and Waliullah. They remained disappeared like many unfortunate others.
Human Chain by the Teachers of Islamic University
Human Chain by the classmates of abducted students
Statement of Amnesty International
Amnesty International had issued the following statement on 20th February, 2012.
“Al Mukaddas (22) and Mohammad Waliullah (23), both members of the Islamic student organization Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir, were allegedly detained by members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a specialized law enforcement agency, and the Detective Branch (DB) of the Bangladesh Police on 4 February. They have not been heard from since and their whereabouts are unknown. The RAB has denied detaining the two men in a statement to a Bangladeshi newspaper. However, reports from several sources and a pattern of disappearances thought to have been conducted by RAB in recent months cast doubt on RAB’s denial. There are credible allegations that RAB is often involved in the abduction, torture and extrajudicial execution of suspected criminals.
So far the authorities appear to have taken no action to establish the whereabouts of Al Mukaddas and Mohammad Waliullah. The men remain at risk of torture and extrajudicial execution.”