5 months on, no trace of the missing

Since her father went missing after the October 23, 2010 clashes between the villagers and security forces at Roopganj, the life of 9-year old Mrittika Rahman Meghla, daughter of Abdul Alim Masud of Bariachhani village, has changed a lot.
With the family almost ruined in the absence of its only bread earner, the little girl has moved to her maternal uncle’s home at Kachkura, east of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. She has changed her school too.
Meghla’s mother Kohinoor Begum said that she had
nothing to do now but to keep waiting, hoping against hope that her husband would come back one day. What worries her most is the future of her daughter, said a sobbing Kohinoor.
Shahar Ali, father of Masud, said he had been compelled to send his granddaughter to her material uncle’s house after the only bread earner of the family had gone missing.
Almost similar is the story of the family of fruit seller Saidul Islam of the area, who also disappeared after the …..went missing.  Saidur and his father Lehaz Uddin together ran the trade at Ichhapur. ‘Saidul used to maintain the business records as his father cannot read or write. In his absence there is no one to take care of the trade,’ said Sajeda Begum, mother of Saidul.
Masud’s mother Majeda Begum said the family did not know the fate of her son. She feared that her son might not be alive. ‘Who would let me see his grave at least if he is dead,’ she said.
The story of Shamsher Molla of Kamshayer of Roopganj, the other missing person is no different four months after the October 23, 2010 incidents at Roopganj, when the law enforcement agencies opened fire on villagers protesting at being forced to sell their lands for an army housing project in the area.
One protester was killed and scores of others were injured in the firing and at least three villagers went missing after the violence.
The families said they had approached the authorities concerned time and again to know the fate of the missing persons but returned frustrated while the police were yet to give any final reports of the four cases filed in connection with the Roopganj incident.
The family of deceased Mostafa Jamal said they had given up the hope of a proper investigation by the police and demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing as soon as possible.
Moreover, the villagers said they were passing days in anxieties after they heard that the army housing project would restart soon. They said there were also rumours in the area that they would be forced to sell their ancestral property, otherwise the police might use cases against them.
According to the locals, army personnel are still buying plots in the area individually. Roopganj sub-registrar Monirul Huq Prodhan, however, said that his office had no records of any such land procurement for the army housing project since the October, 2010 violence.
Shahar Ali alleged that his son and a neighbour Sayedul could not be traced since the incident. He said he had seen his son being picked up by the Rapid Action Battalion during the clashes.
He also alleged that the police were not helping them to find out the missing.
A number of villagers said they were worried as the authorities were threatening to entangle them in the cases filed by the army and RAB with the Roopganj police station.
Four cases were filed accusing thousands of unidentified villagers and three general diaries were recorded with the Roopganj police station between October 23 and 29 in connection with the clashes between the security forces and villagers.
Roopganj police station’s sub-inspector Syed Ahmed Murshed filed a case against over 3,000 unidentified persons on October 23 and RAB 11 deputy inspector Yasin Miah on October 28, filed a case accusing 4,000 unnamed persons of disrupting duties of government agencies. On the same day warrant officer Aminur Rahman on behalf of the army also lodged a case accusing 60 unidentified persons.
Abdur Rafiq, father of Mostafa Jamal, who was killed in the firing, also filed a case. Rafiq alleged that the police had changed his case statement at least at eight places. ‘They erased the words in which I alleged that Jamal was killed by the army,’ he said.
‘I have no hope about the case,’ he said. ‘I want a judicial inquiry of the killing.’
Three general diaries were also filed by the families of the three missing persons.
After the incident, the army had withdrawn their camps from Tanmusuri, Bariachhani, Nawra and Purbagram and abandoned the project office located opposite Roopganj sub- registrar’s office. In front of the Bariachhani camp, a signboard of a madrassah has been installed.
A number of locals said that the police seemed to have found the situation embarrassing and that might be a reason for no progress in the investigation.
‘We went to the police to file a case but they recorded a general diary instead about the missing,’ says Saidul’s mother Sajeda, who believes her son is dead after a relative told her that he had seen Saidul being shot.
Four months after the incident, the police have yet to find a trace of any of the missing persons. ‘We have informed all police stations in the country about the missing persons,’ says Forekan Sikder, officer-in-charge of Rupganj police station, adding that the families had filed ‘general diaries’ in this regard, ‘We have nothing more to do.’
‘Investigation into the case is going on. No one has been arrested yet,’ he said.
‘We are trying to find out the masterminds behind the incident and that is why the investigation is taking time,’ he added.
RAB director general Mohammad Mokhlesur Rahman denied the allegations brought against the elite force and said they would try to find out the missing persons if their families lodge complaints.


Courtesy of New Age

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