Enforced disappearance situation more grim in US than Bangladesh, says Hasina

Amid intense international criticisms of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina says the situation is more 'grim' in the United States.

The prime minister made the remarks on Thursday in parliament, responding to concerns raised by Leader of the Opposition Raushon Ershad.

"According to a 2009 statistics, 275,000 citizens went missing in Britain and no traces of 20,000 of them were found. The situation in America is more serious," said the leader of the House.

Hasina said it was tough to trace missing people in an overpopulated country like Bangladesh.

"In the 56,000 square miles of Bangladesh, 160 million people live... And what is the population of these developed countries. They have all the modern technologies, but still people go missing there and cannot be traced."

Claiming the situation in Bangladesh was far better than in those countries, the prime minister said, "We immediately launch investigations whenever a case is reported."

The Human Rights Watch, in a recent report, said that law-enforcing agencies in Bangladesh have secretly detained hundreds of people since 2013. The Amnesty International has also raised similar allegations.

During Thursday's session, Raushon said, "People are being held to ransom and these are not made up. They have been reported in the media. How did Aniruddha went missing, who took him away? We are yet to know."

The Jatiya Party leader referred to Aniruddha Kumar Roy, who has returned home after going missing for 81 days.

The businessman was abducted by a group of men in broad daylight on Aug 27 from Dhaka's Gulshan.

In response, Hasina said, "The opposition leader mentions enforced disappearances. Several of them also return. The media does not extensively report on those who return themselves or are found."

Referring to a recent incident of disappearance, the prime minister said it was later found that the individual was not taken away by any one.

"A well-known intellectual disappears. Later, it was found that was not the case. He went to Khulna by himself," she said in a clear reference to columnist Farhad Mazhar.

Hasina claimed that similar incidents have been happening. "I do not want to take any names."