Anti-militancy raids

Published:  12:00 AM, 21 March 2017

A big question?

It was earlier claimed that a man named Hanif Mridha was arrested following the recent attack on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) camp at Ashkona in Dhaka.  He died under RAB custody next day in hospital. According to Hanif Mridha's family, on the other hand, some people identifying themselves as members of law and order forces picked up Hanif Mridha from Siddhirganj area of Narayanganj on 27 February. A general diary (GD) was filed with Siddhirganj Police Station in this connection on March 4.

Hanif Mridha's sister Mosammat Rozina said that after two weeks of this incident around 15 people wearing RAB uniform visited Hanif Mridha's house in Dhaka. Hanif Mridha's family members have expressed astonishment at the news of Hanif Mridha's arrest in connection with militant attack on RAB Ashkona camp recently.

On Saturday early morning a motorcyclist who was a suspected militant, RAB sources said, was shot dead by RAB forces at Khilgaon area of Dhaka. RAB also claimed that explosives were found from the suspect's bag. Apart from these occurrences, questions and controversies have emerged among ordinary people about anti-militancy raids by law and order forces across Bangladesh.

Now the point is why such questions are arising. A resident of Dhaka city told on condition of anonymity that there are questions whether innocent people are being victimized in such raids or not. Another person said the attack in Ashkona might have been dramatized. These questions are  being more conspicuous as a result of death of suspected militants in all these raids. The suspected militants should have been kept alive for proof, another person remarked.

However, there is no doubt that militants are active in Bangladesh. Attack on Holey Artisan Café and killing bloggers are glaring instances of militant activity inside the country. Moreover, several Bangladeshi youths have left for Syria and Libya to join Islamic State (IS).

Journalist Julfiqar Ali has been observing militancy in Bangladesh for last fifteen years. He has said that doubts about anti-militancy drives have originated from so-called "crossfire" incidents by police and RAB. He further added several times law and order forces made contradictory statements regarding anti-militancy operations which have also created suspicion among ordinary citizens.

However, law and order forces have dismissed these controversies. They have frequently stated that they raided the real dens of militants and have been able to break down militants' network through their operations.


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