SALAH UDDIN DISAPPEARANCE

Salah udiin wife

Wife worried, says law enforcers not cooperating

Muktadir Rashid

The worried wife of Bangladesh Nationalist Party joint secretary general Salah Uddin Ahmed on Tuesday alleged that the law enforcement agencies were not cooperating with her to find out her husband who disappeared on March 10. ‘I am spending every moment hoping that he will be returned,’ said Hasina Ahmed. After meeting BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday evening, Hasina Ahmed said, ‘Since law enforcement agencies have picked him up, I demand that they either produce him before the court or return him to his family.’ She made the allegation a day after the High Court on Monday observed that there were no reflections in the reports the four law enforcement agencies had submitted that they had made efforts to find out the BNP leader. Meanwhile, more witness accounts said that ‘uniformed’ Rapid Action Battalion personnel had asked security guards working in Rajlakkhi neighbourhood at Uttara about the location of road 13/B in Sector 3 on the night Salah Uddin had gone missing.

Residents in the area also told New Age they had seen a double-cabin van marked ‘Dhaka Metropolitan Police’ and a white ‘Noah’ microbus parked at the southern end of the 70-metre long 13/B road. Salah Uddin’s wife Hasina Ahmed alleged that her husband was picked up  around 10:00pm on March 10 by law enforcers from the second floor of a three-storey building located on the road. Until his disappearance, Salah Uddin, a former minister, had worked as the spokesperson of the BNP-led alliance. The police and RAB have denied involvement in the incident, and gave statements to the High Court denying that the opposition leader was in their custody. Earlier, a caretaker of the building had said a man was taken away blindfolded by plainclothes people who showed him their Detective Branch identification.

On Monday night, a DB team led by deputy commissioner Sheikh Nazmul Alam visited the apartment from where Salah Uddin is said to have been picked up. Uttara 3 Kalyan Samity security commander Khorshed Alam told New Age on Monday, ‘Had miscreants abducted him, we would have been informed immediately by the guards at the house.’ New Age spoke to seven witnesses, including local security guards, and the residents confirmed the presence of law enforcers on road 13B on the night of March 10. ‘It was between 9:00pm and 9:15pm on that night [March 10] when  a patrol-van carrying RAB personnel stopped in front of the Kalyan Samity office,’ a middle-aged security guard, who has been serving the welfare association for many years, told New Age. The local welfare association, Kalyan Samity, provides security on 18 roads and 21 entrances to Sector 3, with all but four gates remaining closed after 9:00pm every day. At these four gates, private security guards are on duty. ‘I greeted them and one of them asked me about the location of road 13/B,’ the security guard added. ‘I showed them the way and they drove in that direction. Four or five men in uniform were in the rear of the black pickup while two were in front.’ Two more security guards confirmed what their colleague had said. When asked, RAB-1 commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Tuhin Mohammad Masud told New Age on Tuesday, ‘I did not send anyone there [road 13/B].’

In addition, local residents, who usually play or watch badminton matches in the area until about 11:00pm, also told New Age that they had seen law enforcers’ vehicles on that night. ‘A security guard of the association approached us and asked us to leave the place immediately,’ one resident said. ‘We followed his instruction. I then saw a white vehicle driving towards the southern end of the road while another police pickup entered the northern end.’ ‘The pickup had the mark “Dhaka Metropolitan Police” on one side,’ the witness said. Another resident told New Age, ‘A security guard approached us and asked us to leave the place. “Leave the place… there might be trouble”, he told us.’ ‘From upstairs I saw men come out of their vehicles parked on the street,’ the person continued. ‘A few of them got down from the Noah microbus and were chatting. There was a motorcycle too.’

The witness, however, did not see any person being taken away but said one of the two vehicles was kept parked on the road until the following evening. A third resident from north edge of road 13/B also told New Age that three to four people had approached him and asked whether that was building number 49/B. Last year New Age reported that in December 2013, some 19 BNP activists were picked up by law enforcement personnel over a two week period in Dhaka and they were never seen again.

Source: New Age BD