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17th-May-2015

India must urgently tell us how Salahuddin was dumped there

By Editorial Desk

Like his disappearance, BNP leader Salahuddin Ahmed's return to public visibility in Shillong, the capital of Indian state of Meghalaya on Bangladesh border, has raised more questions than ending the mystery over his abduction. Times of India reported on May 15 from Shillong quoting Salahuddin Ahmed, who was arrested on May 12 in the city's Golf Link area, as saying local police that he was "dumped" in the city blindfolded. Earlier he spent two months in secret confinement somewhere in Bangladesh after he was abducted from Uttara, in the suburb of Bangladesh capital Dhaka. People now believe prosecuting a helpless victim is not the real issue; the question that needs to be properly investigated is how he was taken to Shillong evading the Indian security check ups at the border.  
As per the report he told the Indian police that he was brought in a vehicle to the India-Bangladesh border and then shifted to another vehicle on the Indian side, blind-folded and masked and drove around for about three-and-half hours until he was abandoned in the city.  He said he could ascertain his whereabouts reading a signboard and gave up to the police. They would produce him before the courts soon under 'Foreigners Act' as an accused for illegal entry to India. The questions now hitting the mind of the people is: Whether Salahuddin Ahmed should be treated as an illegal trespasser to India and put on trial, since he did not went to Shillong on his own will and was rather bundled by an unknown criminal gangsters whom he even did not know.
The fact is that his abduction by unknown forces as the spokesperson of BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia during the peak hours of the recent pro-democracy movement made repeated local and international media headlines. It was equally documented as a case of missing opposition politician by local and international human rights bodies. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern and foreign ambassadors stationed in Dhaka had also voiced their concern over the incident. The Bangladesh Supreme Court has also asked the government to find out the victim and return him to his family on a writ by her wife and as far as we know the Indian media and political leaderships are equally aware of it.  
A Times of India report said it would not be fair to treat a politician as an ordinary criminal and put on trial. It will not produce a good instance for Indian democracy. Sensible people speak the same in both the countries.
Whether we accept Salahuddin Ahmed's story or not what cannot be denied is that our people are puzzled over the question how and who dumped Salahuddin Ahmed in India. It is a dangerous development and our people expect an explanation which only India can give.
It is the most urgent obligation of both India, where Salahuddin Ahmed has emerged and Bangladesh to know how and with whose help he entered India apparently unnoticed by the concerned security authorities in both the countries. There is not much to try Salahuddin Ahmed as it is clear that he has no Indian visa. And for accidental entry in a foreign country the easiest thing to do is to send him back. So talking of court proceedings in India is most unconvincing.
India will be right in starting investigation immediately into the story of an opposition leader from Bangladesh who finds himself in India and now anxious to be sent back to Bangladesh, without unnecessarily dragging the matter under the pretext of legal proceedings against Salahuddin Ahmed. India must not allow itself to be seen as a dumping place of political opponents in Bangladesh.