Adiba was only two and half years old when some unidentified miscreants picked her father up. She has been joining human chain protests and other demonstrations, demanding her father's safe return. She is now 7 year old and goes to school. She showed up at around 30 human chains and press conferences so far, holding up her father’s picture. Adiba and her little brother Araf, who never saw their father, want to celebrate this Eid with their father.
Like Adiba and Arif, 19 families of forced disappearance victims called on the government to find their relatives so that they can celebrate Eid togehter.
They made this demand at a human chain organised by Mayer Daak, a platform of the families of victims of forced disappearance, on Saturday in front of the National Press Club. The families expressed how they were suffering in the absence of their missing relatives and urged the authorities to bring them back as soon as possible.
Adiba’s father, Parvez Hossain, also a leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) student wing Chhatra Dal, disappeared on 2 December 2013 from Bangshal of the capital.
Parvez’s wife Farzana Akhter, 28, has been living with her parents along with her two children since Parvez went missing.
“We had a love marriage and wanted to live together for life,” Farzana told Prothom Alo.
Another victim was Michael Chakma, a top leader of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), who went missing on his way to Dhaka from Kanchpur in Narayanganj last April.
His sister Subhadra Chakma has been searching relentlessly for her brother. She fainted while talking to the media after the Saturday human chain event.
Terming the current situation as ‘dreadful’, human rights activist Nur Khan said the law enforcement has been using enforced disappearance as a weapon of repression.
He demanded an inquiry committee to recover the victims.
The families of many victims alleged the law enforcers responsible for the disappearance to be ‘backed by the government’. According to the organisers, more than 500 people went missing in nearly six years. Only a few of them returned.
The victims who returned have maintained slinece about their disappearances.
BNP leader Kawser was picked up by a team who claimed to be members of law enforcement from his home in Shahinbagh in 2013. His daughter Lamia also took part in the human chain. She burst into tears while looking at her father’s photo after the human chain event.
“I want my father back. I want to celebrate this Eid with him,” tearful Lamia told the media.
Sister of another victim BNP activist Selim Reza, who went missing on 11 December 2013, said, her family still waits for Selim, although they have no clue whether or not he is alive.
Professor of law department at Dhaka University, Asif Nazrul, took part in the human chain along with the victims’ families.
Addressing the prime minister Sheikh Hasina, he said, “Nobody knows the pain of losing families more than you. How can so many people disappear during your time? If anything is possible with your order, why dont you order to find these missing people?”
Director of human rights oeganisation Odhikar, Nasiruddin Elan, told Prothom Alo, “Such crimes should come under trial. We all know, most of these forced disappearances occurred in the name of law enforcers.”