June 10, 2016

Bangladesh: Will the anti-terror crackdown stop further attacks ?

The Daily Star
June 11, 2016

The killing of an ashram worker
Will special drives thwart further attacks?

Only two days after a 70-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death in Jhenidah, we have been confronted with another brutal killing, this time a 60-year-old devotee of an ashram. Since May, eight people have been killed in a similar fashion which smacks of militant operations. The latest murder gives the chilling message that the nightmare is far from over.

It is quite apparent that certain categories of people have become the targets of militant attacks. This has sent a wave of fear among people, especially those belonging to different faiths and ideologies. Even families of law enforcers engaged in catching militants are in the radar of these extremists.

The police have announced a weeklong clamp down on militants from June 10 but this will not necessarily allay our fears if the real killers and those who have conspired to instruct them to kill, are not caught. Announcing the clamp down seems a little imprudent as it gives criminals the opportunity to disappear from the scene. Also, we are surprised that such drives in which field-level officers are being instructed to find out the whereabouts of suspected militants in their areas, have not been done before as the killing spree started long before June. Over the last two years or so, suspected militants have attacked and killed university professors, secular bloggers, publishers, LGBT rights activists, members of religious minorities including Shia and Sufi Muslims, Hindus and Christians. What have the law enforcers been waiting for?

We fervently hope that a coordinated effort of all the security agencies will bring positive results in terms of catching the real killers along with the masterminds instead of making wholesale arrests.