Ever since the traumatic orgy of deaths at Holey Artisan upscale restaurant in July last year, the response of law enforcers to the incidents of extremism have been commendable. A notable number of terrorists have been killed in engagements with law enforcers or caught and interrogated leading to finding out details about the whereabouts and capacities of the terrorists still at large.
It was not an idle boast on the part of the Home Minister when he stated early this year about subduing the terrorist threat. However, events in the last week or so have been enough to renew skepticism about the diminishing of terrorist threat. It appears though the threat was said to be blunted, it remains still considerably potent.
The thing to note is cells of the terrorist networks have survived and are demonstrating determination and abilities to take on the police and other law enforcers.
In some cases, they are taking the fight to the police as the Ashkona incident symbolized. RAB's under construction headquarters at Ashkona was on the defensive as it was stormed by a suicide bomber on Friday who was wearing a vest that was exploded.
This mode of attack by the terrorists adds a whole new dimension. Previously, the terror elements feared for their own lives and restrained their activities to killing targeted non-Muslims and perceived atheists. But now they are becoming very daring and directly attacking law enforcement people with no fear of losing their own lives in the process.
This escalation in their modus operandi means police and other agencies would be hard pressed to cope with such direly motivated persons. Such suicidal terrorist activists have proved their devastating effects in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That they have reached our shores-- in spite of being considered as home grown-- adds to the anxiety because of the deadly shift in their strategy.
Thus, the law enforcement bodies will have to revise and readjust their strategies to be able to deal successfully with this newly designed wave of terrorism. Only a few days ago police encountered another such female suicide bomber who attempted to blow herself up and also take policemen down with her. Her attempt was thwarted but it indicated the trend of suicide bombing here.
Conspicuously, the Islamic State (IS) took responsibility for the Ashkona explosion in a declaration notwithstanding the previous strong disclaimer by the Inspector General of police (IGP) to the effect that there is no IS presence in Bangladesh.
The law enforcement bodies were not under any impression that the terrorism threat has declined to the extent that they could relax a bit. While commending them for their vigilance, there is also a need to remind them to be only more prepared for the new challenges the terror mongers are likely to unleash in the near future.