Tariq Ahmed Dar, till a few years back, was a known face in print commercials of top brands in Bangladesh. A successful businessman, Dar was somewhat of a star in Dhaka’s modelling circuit.
In less than six months, all that changed. The most published star of Bangladesh was labelled “a spy and a terrorist”. The Bangladesh Rapid Action Force arrested Dar on September 15 last year on charges of spying for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He was allegedly kept in illegal detention for 40 days, tortured, and finally deported to India.
As soon as he landed at the Delhi airport on September 25, Dar was arrested for his ‘alleged’ links with the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. With a suspect in the Delhi blasts of October 2005 also going by the same name, it was a case of mistaken identity.
For Dar’s family, the arrest came as a rude shock. His father, Gulam Nabi Dar, is a well-know poet. He spent almost all his resources to get his son released, but nothing happened. He even ran a campaign and also enlisted the support of several Kashmiri politicians. The family had almost given up.
Dar’s case got a boost when the Amnesty International and the Indian external affairs ministry intervened. “No innocent should suffer like this,” said Gulam Nabi Dar. The family was a regular at the Dhaka International Trade Fair.
“Tariq started his own business in Bangladesh in June last year,” said Imtiaz, his younger brother. “He was doing well. At his friend’s insistence, he started modelling and became a huge success,” Imtiaz said. He even won the Mr Bangladesh contest in 2003, and that was when, his family said, he was noticed by the Bangladeshi intelligence agencies. Since he was an Indian national, his participation aroused suspicion. The Dars are now planning to produce a movie on Tariq’s experience. No points for guessing who will play the lead role in the movie.
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