The police have been informing the country that the facts, as they have found them, do not tally with the statements made by writer-columnist Farhad Mazhar in relation to his recent alleged abduction. The media have been carrying reports, not all of which are without exaggeration, on the circumstances of the whole affair.
In addition, there are all the interpretations and misinterpretations which have been coming in, to a point where the Farhad Mazhar episode has often seemed to be turning into a tale to be spread around as gossip. That is very unfortunate.
The problem with speculation is that it sometimes leaves little room for reason to come in. Rumors and often innuendo take over because no clear story is available and what we have instead is a flurry of rumors and hearsay that conveniently pushes realities under the rug.
In the present instance, the police should be doing more than they have so far. While their argument that Farhad Mazhar's statements do not tally with facts is understandable, what they now must do is come forth with a clear statement on what they have actually found in the course of their investigation. Was Mazhar really not taken out of Dhaka by force?
If he was not, how was he spotted in Khulna or returning to the capital on a bus? Again, the call for a sum of Tk 35 lakh, which amount was subsequently lowered in another call, he made to his family remains a mystery. Who was the money intended for? Was that ransom demanded by 'kidnappers' or did it have something to do at a personal level with Mazhar?
These are some of the questions to which the police need to find quick answers in order to underscore their investigation. And then there is the other side of the story, to be related by the man in the centre of it all. Farhad Mazhar should be coming forward, or should be permitted to come forward, and give people his version of events. He did indeed make a statement before the police once he was brought back to Dhaka by them.
Whether or not the contents of the statement were true or whether or not pressure was applied on him (and pressure can be of many kinds) to make that statement is something we need to hear from him. Farhad Mazhar is a well-known person even if his ideas on politics and society are abhorrent to many. It is therefore only logical that this tale of mystery surrounding his recent acts be plumbed and probed to full public satisfaction.
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