Even though police have claimed that witnesses Tahmid Hasib Khan and Hasnat R Karim were released on the night of July 6, their families have told the Dhaka Tribune that neither have returned home.
The obvious question is: Where are they now?
Both were rescued in Operation Thunderbolt and were taken in as witnesses along with 25 other people on July 2. They had just endured an 11-hour hostage situation that left 20 hostages and two policemen dead.
Both Hasnat and Tahmid were described as survivors, along with 30 others rescued from the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, in the case filed in connection with the attack.
All of the survivors of the Holey Bakery attack, except Tahmid and Hasnat, were released the day after their rescue.
According to sources in the police department, both of them gave separate statements about the incident. It was not made clear why they were kept for questioning for extra 72 hours.
And it is not clear where the two survivors – Tahmid Hasib Khan, a student of the University of Toronto, and Hasnat R Karim, a former teacher of the North South University – ended up after their release.
Family members of Tahmid, a Canadian resident, have been running campaign on social media to get him back.
They also tried to get Tahmid medical attention as he is an epileptic as well as legal representation, but failed.
A report in the Canadian newspaper National Post dated July 6 said that pleading with police to release him from custody, his family members had stationed a lawyer outside the building of the Detective Branch where he was being interrogated.
“They have been released after interrogation,” Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masudur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune last night. He, however, did not specify the exact time of their release.
Read More: Police: Hasnat, Tahmid not in custody
Monirul Islam, additional commissioner of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of police, on July 6 afternoon said that police had not detained or arrested Tahmid. “They are just being questioned as they witnessed the incident,” he said.
The two police officials’ versions suggest that Tahmid and Hasnat were released on the night of July 6, hours before the Eid Day.
Both the families confirmed the Dhaka Tribune that Hasnat and Tahmid had not returned home as of 11pm yesterday, nine days after the July 1 carnage that claimed at least 22 lives.
Police earlier said they were looking into their alleged involvement in the Gulshan attack as circulated on the social media.
According to the law, any person who is arrested must be told why they are arrested and must be given access to counsel.
Moreover, the constitution grants every person who has been arrested or detained the right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. Detentions beyond that period are not allowed without the authority of a magistrate.
Tahmid’s father, businessman Shahriar Khan, sounded worried about his son while talking to the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday night.
“If the state needs to question him, they should, but they should let us know where he is,” he said.
Hasnat’s father Rezaul Karim told this newspaper that his son was still missing.
Also Read: Tahmid's family pleads for his release