Mystery shrouds Salahuddin’s escapade to Shillong

SHILLONG: Three days after Bangladesh ex-Minister Salahuddin Ahmed’s dramatic entry into Shillong, there is no definite clue about the circumstances leading to his surfacing in the city at the crack of dawn on Monday.
However, speculations are rife about a possible desperation to save himself that Ahmed took the risk of sneaking out of his country through clandestine route to Shillong.
It is also a popular conjecture that the wanted man in Bangladesh managed “local support” in making the perilous journey across the porous border.
On Thursday, there were a flurry of activities in Shillong following arrival of a number of Ahmed’s aides and associates. There are already talks of his seeking political asylum in India thereby strengthening the theory that Ahmed was trying to run for his life in Bangladesh.
Two relatives of Ahmed and a Bangladeshi exporter met him in Civil Hospital. They were assisted by a Khasi exporter from Shella and two Dawki residents.
Ayub Ali from Kolkata, who claims to be the cousin of Ahmed said after meeting him that the BNP leader was in the custody of some unidentified persons for 62 days and the abductors shifted him in different vehicles finally landing up near Golf course, Shillong blindfolded.
Ali, quoting Ahmed said that the BNP leader had gone to Pasteur beat house to report to the police after he landed up here, which, however was contradicted by the Meghalaya police by saying that it was the residents of the area who spotted him wandering and reported to the beat house.
The Khasi exporter from Shella who was accompanying Ali, said that he was just assisting the Bangladeshi residents to meet Ahmed and did not have any other role.
However, police doubt the kidnapping angle as claimed by the BNP leader.
“We cannot confirm the kidnapping theory as we have not interrogated him thoroughly since he is a heart patient,” East Khasi Hills SP M. Kharkrang said.
However, two personnel from Special Branch of Meghalaya police quizzed him for two hours at the hospital on Thursday, but they could not gather anything new as the politician maintained whatever he had already told the media.
Though Ahmed thanked Indian Government for giving him medical treatment and shelter, it is not clear whether he will be seeking political asylum in India since he is hunted by the Government forces in Bangladesh.
A senior home department official said that the BNP leader can seek political asylum in India provided that he writes to the Centre citing that he is harassed by the Government forces.
He however, said that as far as entry into India without travel documents is concerned, the law will take its own course.
Meanwhile, Ahmed, who is lodged at Civil Hospital, on Thursday thanked the Indian Government for giving him shelter and medical treatment after his arrest here on Monday.
Ahmed conveyed this to his close party associate and family friend Jony Md. Abdul Latif, who visited him at Shillong Civil Hospital assisted by two Khasi residents from Dawki on Thursday night.
Earlier during the day, the wife of Ahmed, Hasina Ahmed told media in Dhaka that Jony, the assistant office secretary of BNP, had left for Shillong to meet her husband.
In Shillong after meeting Ahmed, Jony told The Shillong Times that he came to meet Ahmed as a family friend and not as a political leader, and the aim of the visit was to inquire about his health.
Jony said that Ahmed conveyed to him that he was not keeping well and there is a need for further medical treatment at some other hospitals as he was taking medicines as per the prescriptions of a doctor from Singapore due to heart disease and ailment related to kidney.
“I came to know about his detention in Shillong from his wife who is not able to come to Shillong as her visa is yet to be cleared,” Jony said.
He also said that the arrested spokesperson of BNP did not give any information to him regarding how he landed up in Shillong without travel documents.
Asked about the political witch hunt by the ruling Bangladesh government against BNP leaders, Jony said that unlike India, Canada, US and Britain, the situation is different in Bangladesh.  However, he did not elaborate.
Jony said that only after his wife’s arrival in Shillong she can pursue the legal case and also any request for political asylum since he was arrested under Foreigners’ Act.
Earlier, during the day, several media persons from Dhaka and Kolkata arrived in Shillong and waited to meet Ahmed, but in vain as police did not give them permission.