Dhaka, Dec 9 (Just News): Poet and writer Farhad Mazhar has said he was forced during interrogation to say that he had gone out on a leisure trip.
Speaking at a press conference today, Saturday, at his Shyamoli residence, he said certain plainclothesmen had tried to snatch him from RAB and his abductors had tried to take him across the Khulna-Jessore border to the other side.
Mazhar convened the press conference two days after a court granted police to file a counter case against Mazhar and his wife Farida Akhtar for lodging a “false abduction” case.
Claiming to have been abducted while he was on the way to buy some medicines, Farhad Mazhar said, “Three men forcefully dragged me into a microbus and blindfolded me. I managed to call my wife over phone. Then I called to save me, to send money, and I simply did whatever the abductors told me. I had no idea where they had dropped me off. I knew they were watching me. I followed their instructions and got onto a Hanif Paribahan bus in the evening and I was made to sit at the back. I was fearful for my life and came to my senses when I heard a noise. Some plainclothesmen came and tried to get me off the bus.”
He said he panicked, thinking that they were taking him off the bus to kill him.
“The plainclothesmen aimed their firearms at the RAB persons and threatened them, then argued heatedly with them, trying to take me away. It was like a mini war, but RAB managed to get me into their vehicle. The plainclothesmen tried to take me down from the vehicle.”
Farhad Mazhar went on to say, RAB felt that the abductors may still be in the area and so they wanted to take him to Khulna for treatment and rest. But some unknown persons blocked the road with trucks in order to prevent the RAB vehicle from proceeding. Later he was taken by the RAB vehicle to a place which they said was Abhoynagar police station.
Accusing the police of misbehaviour, Farhad Mazhar said, “I was a victim, but I was forced out of the RAB vehicle. They misbehaved with me badly. In the name of interrogation, they made me say I had been on a leisure trip. The police made me get into a vehicle and sang at the top of their voices, travelling towards Dhaka.”
He went on to say, “As I came back alive, they are trying to keep me silent by socially humiliating me. All my life I worked for human rights. If we are to stop this culture of enforced disappearances, then we have to stand up despite all humiliation and work to ensure that all the missing persons are returned to their families.”
After being allegedly abducted from near his house on 3 July and recovered 18 hours later, and then after the police’s final report was submitted, Farhad Mazhar did not speak to the media.
The police claimed the Farhad Mazhar hadn’t been abducted rather he had gone to Khulna on his own accord.
Farhad Mazhar’s family said he had gone out from his Huq Garden’s home in Shyamoli at five in the morning on 3 July.
CCTV footage shows him climbing down the stairs of the building quite normally at 5:05am. At around 5:30am, his wife Farida Akhter received a phone call from an unknown number and Farhad Mazhar spoke, saying, “They are taking me away. They will kill me.”
Farhad Mazhar’s wife filed a case with the Adabar police station in the capital city in this regard.
Farhad Mazhar was rescued around 11:00pm that night from Jessore’s Abhoynagar on a Dhaka-bound Hanif Paribahan bus which had left from Khulna.
He was first handed over to Khulna police and then at around 8:45am the next morning he was taken to the Adabor police station in Dhaka. He was then taken to the police’s Detective Branch (DB) office on Minto Road, and then sent to court.
He gave his deposition in court as a victim. The court then released him.