June 16, 2016

Bangladesh: No excuse for inaction (editorial, Dhaka Tribune)

Dhaka Tribune, 15 june 16, 2016

No excuse for inaction

Tribune Editorial

It is common sense that law enforcement works better when police prevent crimes, rather than to attempt to solve crimes once committed. And in cases where law enforcers have intelligence regarding potential criminal activity, there is no excuse for inaction.

Given that law enforcers had intel regarding a growing JMB presence in 16 districts of northwestern Bangladesh, they were in a strategic position to pre-empt crime and prevent attacks. Even after knowing that a potentially deadly militant attack was likely to happen in a particular district, the police failed to arrest the involved perpetrators.

The number of people thought to be involved in potential militant activity is not too high -- around 100-150 trained militants or militants-in-training, who work in small groups of four of five, are supervised by a 16-member JMB cell.

Law enforcers claim that appropriate security measures have been taken and hope that the current drive of arrests will produce results. Currently, out of a total of 11,307 people arrested in the first four days, only 145 of them are suspected militants.

While it is unfortunate that it has taken the deaths of many to rile up the police into action, and the timeliness before Eid has raised allegations of corruption, it is hoped that the police do indeed take note of the intelligence they gather and are empowered to act upon it to prevent further loss of life.

Otherwise, time and again, our law enforcement institutions will only lose more credibility -- a downward spiral that only leads to further bleakness, where law-abiding citizens lose hope, and criminals feel they can act with impunity.