After 'crossfire', and'encounter', by members of the law-enforcing agencies, forced disappearanceshave given rise to a pervasive sense of insecurity and uncertainty among thepeople, human right groups have said.
The disappearance of M Elias Ali,BNP organising secretary (Sylhet Division) is among many such cases ofdisappearance of political leaders and workers marked as 'mysterious' by lawenforcers.
Commander M Sohail, director ofthe legal and media wing of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), told The New Nationyesterday that RAB has been investigating the disappearance of Elias Ali.
Khandker Lutful Kabir, deputycommissioner of police of Gulshan Division, told The New Nation thatintelligence agencies are trying to unearth the mysterious abduction of EliasAli.
Tahsina Rushdir Luna, wife ofmissing BNP leader yesterday expressed optimism about getting back her husbandalive after meeting the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday.
"I am hopeful, pray for us," Luna told reportersemerging from the meeting at the prime minister's official residence GonoBhaban in the capital.
Mahbubul Haque Shakil, thepremier's special assistant (press) said the PM has asked the law enforcingagencies to make the maximum effort to trace the missing BNP leader as soon aspossible. Leaders of many national and international human right organisations including Sultana Kamal, executivedirector of AKS have expressed concerns about the forced disappearance of theBNP organizing secretary Elias Ali.
Ruling Awami League GeneralSecretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam on Monday alleged that KhaledaZia does not want that the missing BNP leader Elias Ali to be rescued.
BNP has not taken any step torescue Elias Ali. The party leaders should assist the government if they wantto find out their missing leader.
The Awami League GS said BNP leaders are doing politics over theissue instead of assisting the government. They are also crippling the countryby enforcing hartal, he added. Syed Ashraf said, "The law enforcers haveconducted 12 drives already to rescue Elias Ali. The drives will continue tillElias is found."
The acting BNP secretary generalMirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, now hiding to avoid arrest has accused thegovernment of trying to pass the blame of the disappearance of Elias Ali on the opposition.
After abducting Elias, thegovernment is now conducting raids on houses of BNP leaders to rescue him, hesaid.
Fakhrul said after Elias' forceddisappearance, the home minister had expressed her embarrassment to a BNPdelegation over the incident and assured all measures to rescue him. BNP hasmeanwhile observed five days of hartal in two weeks demanding his return.
According to Odhikar, aDhaka-based human rights organisation, at least 1,600 people have been victimsof extrajudicial killings since 2004.
Another human rights watchdog hassaid, 30 people were reportedly victims of forced disappearance in 2011 amongthem 14 were allegedly picked up by Rapid Action Battalion, 11 by DetectiveBranch police, two by police and three by member of different law enforcingagencies. Two people became victim of forced disappearance in 2009 and 18 in2010.
A significant number of the 30people who became victims of forced disappearances in 2012, were politicalleaders. Such disappearances, whichhave emerged as a growing trend, is assuming an alarming nature compared withsuch incidents at any time in the past, rights watchdog Ain o Salish Kendrasaid.
Fifty-one people were victims'forced disappearance' or 'secret killings in 2011, the rights group said. 'Wehave received reports that a number of leaders of the Bangladesh NationalistParty, BNP-backed student organisation Chhatra Dal and even of the ruling AwamiLeague were reported missing,' Noor Khan, director (investigation) of therights group, said.
Both Odhikar and Ain o SalishKendra said that in most cases, the families of the disappeared persons or thepeople killed and their witnesses alleged that the law enforcing agencies wereinvolved in the incidents.