Missing Bangla politico resurfaces in Shillong

Salahuddin Ahmed (inset) in Shillong Civil Hospital on Tuesday. (ST)
Salahuddin Ahmed (inset) in Shillong Civil Hospital on Tuesday. (ST)

SHILLONG: In a mysterious development, a top opposition politician from Bangladesh, who was reported missing since March 10 last, surfaced in Meghalaya on Monday.
Salahuddin Ahmed (54), former Minister and Former PM Khaleda Zia’s close associate and BNP General Secretary, was found wandering at Pynthorumkhrah locality. Meghalaya police arrested him for entering India without valid documents. (Briefly reported in ST on Tuesday)
After some people of Pynthorumkhrah, a mixed locality, noticed him moving suspiciously, they alerted the Pasteur Beat House.
However, Ahmed insisted that he was kidnapped by some unidentified persons in Bangladesh and dumped in Shillong blindfolded.
Following his arrest on Monday, Ahmed was taken to Shillong Civil Hospital and then he was forwarded to Meghalaya Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (MIMHANS) since he could not give any satisfactory reply to the questions of police.
Ahmed stayed at MIMHANS on Monday and he was taken again to Shillong Civil Hospital on Tuesday for further treatment as the Psychiatrist Dr AK Roy from MIMHANS declared that he was mentally fit and the only complaint was that he was suffering from heart disease and ailments related to kidney.
In Shillong Civil Hospital, Salahuddin Ahmed told the media that he was kidnapped in Bangladesh. However, he was not allowed to talk further as the police covered his face and lodged him at the room meant for the Under Trial Prisoners.
As per preliminary investigation, he was dumped by unidentified abductors in a Maruti Gypsy in Shillong.
Meghalaya police was surprised to know that he was a former Minister of Bangladesh since the police had arrested him on charge of ‘trespassing’ into Meghalaya without valid documents.
East Khasi Hills SP M Kharkrang said that police arrested the person under Foreigner’s Act since he did not have passport, visa or other valid documents.
Ahmed’s surprise appearance in Shillong created considerable interest in Bangladesh as it was largely believed that in the ongoing internecine political skullduggery between ruling Awami League and Opposition BNP, he was liquidated by Government agencies.  On Tuesday , The Shillong Times office was flooded with phone calls from journalists and political forces to confirm the developments.
As per Bangladeshi media reports, the wife of  Ahmed, Hasina Ahmed told reporters in Dhaka that she received a phone call from her husband on Tuesday from Meghalaya after he went ‘missing’ on March  10 and the  family had alleged that Salahuddin was picked up by detective police personnel from a house at Uttara on the night of March 10.
The media reports said that on April 12, the  Bangladesh High Court had  instructed authorities to carry on search for Salahuddin and to file a report every month on its progress for the next six months.
Salahuddin’s wife  had also sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to trace her husband and went to the PMO twice on Mar 19 and Apr 7 to hand over memorandums.
Ahmed, a former Cox’s Bazar MP and state minister had served as an assistant private secretary to Khaleda during her 1991-96 tenure when he was a junior civil servant.
The BNP joint secretary general was functioning as party’s spokesperson after the arrests of acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Ahmed Rizvi, the media reports from Dhaka said.
Ahmed was picked up by plainclothesmen from a house in Dhaka.
He has been purportedly issuing media statements on his party’s behalf from an undisclosed location after most of the senior BNP leaders were arrested.

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