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Enforced disappearance victims must be returned from Aynaghar: Fakhrul

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has demanded of the government to return the victims of enforced disappearances from the confinement of ‘Aynaghar’ as early as possible.

He was speaking at a human-chain formed in front of the BNP central office at Nayapaltan in the capital on Tuesday (August 30).

Dhaka City North and South BNP jointly formed the human-chain in observance of the ‘International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2022.’

Family members, including children, of many leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies, who have been subjected to enforced disappearances, also spoke at the human-chain.

They narrated the ordeal and mental trauma they are going through losing their near and dear ones and called upon the government to take steps for bringing the missing people back to their families.

Addressing the family members of the victims of enforced disappearances, the BNP Secretary General said, “You’re not alone anymore. People of the entire country are with you. Country’s people will fight for you.” “On this day, we stand with family members and children of the victims of enforced disappearances demanding that an independent and impartial investigation be carried out immediately under the United Nation,” he said.

Fakhrul said, “We have heard during our boyhood that people used to be the victims of enforced disappearance in Latin America. It’s an irony that people in Bangladesh are also becoming the victims of enforced disappearance. We fought for independence in 1971. But, we’re now hearing the wailing of our children. Parents want to get back their sons, women want to get back their brothers and husbands, and children want to get back their fathers,” he said.

The BNP Secretary General said those who are sitting here, they are either the children of our brothers, someone’s sisters or brothers. “What were their crimes? Their only crime was that they wanted to live in an independent country with their rights. But, the Awami League government…..Sheikh Hasina’s government have taken away those rights from us during the last 15 years.”

Citing two incidents, he said plainclothed RAB personnel picked up Munna from Uttara. Salahuddin was picked up, then he was found in India. He has been wandering in India, but can’t come to the country.

Fakhrul said the government has created a reign of terror across the country. They are running the country intimidating and threatening people and resorting to enforced disappearances and murders. “They should be awarded with Nobel Prize for telling lies constantly,” he said.

He also said, “The government will be brought to justice like the heads of the government in different countries who were tried for indulging in enforced disappearances and killings in the past.”

The BNP leader urged the party leaders and activists to get ready for making more sacrifices by waging an irresistible movement together with people to trace out the victims of the enforced disappearance and bring smiles to the faces of their children and other family members.

Govt lying about human rights situation

Fakhrul alleged that the government is lying about the country’s human rights situation and about the UN’s concern over the violation of rights in Bangladesh. “They’re resorting to so much lies in Goebbelsian style that they deserve a special Nobel Prize for lying.”

He said United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has recently visited the country and talked to a cross-section of people. “Later, she talked to ministers and raised concern about the human rights violations and asked them to address the problems.”

In her press conference before wrapping up her visit, Bachelet categorically said the incidents of human rights violations like enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killing, have been taking place in Bangladesh, Fakhrul pointed out.

“She (Bachelet) also said it is the responsibility of the authorities concerned to investigate whether any member of the Bangladesh Army working in the UN peacekeeping mission is involved in human rights violations. These hints and statements are not ordinary words,” he observed.

The BNP leader said the government has insulted the nation by sending the Inspector General of Police accused of human rights violations to a programme of the UN with a three-day visa only to demonstrate its unnecessary audacity.

He slammed the ruling party leaders for their comments that the UN high commissioner for human rights did not say anything about the violation of rights during her visit to Bangladesh, saying it’s a blatant lie.

“You’re deceiving people. The UN rights chief of course clearly said human rights have been violated in Bangladesh and proper and neutral investigation should be carried out into the allegation of enforced disappearance,” Fakhrul said.

Over a hundred family members of the enforced disappearance victims participated in the programme carrying photos of their loved ones.

Several thousand BNP leaders and activists stood in a line on one side of the road from Fakirapool Intersection to the Nightingale Crossing, protesting the incidents of enforced disappearance.

They also carried various placards demanding an end to disappearances, extrajudicial killings and political persecution.

In the programme, BNP workers acted out the scenes of the becoming victims of disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Several thousand BNP leaders and activists stood in a line on one side of the road from Fakirapool Intersection to the Nightingale Crossing, protesting the incidents of enforced disappearance.

The human-chain was also attended by BNP Standing Committee members Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Selima Rahman, Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, BNP leaders Abdus Salam, Amanullah Aman, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, Abul Khair Bhuiyan, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anny, Nazim Uddin Alam, Aminul Islam, Rafiqul Alam Majnu and leaders and activists of other front organisations of BNP.