Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina vows to intensify anti-terror clampdown


DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday promised to intensify a nationwide anti-terror clampdown, a day after a Hindu priest was hacked to death by IS jihadists in Bangladesh, which has seen a series of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular activists.

“If they (militants) think they could turn Bangladesh upside down, they are wrong . . . they will be exposed to justice in the soil of Bangladesh and their patrons will also not be spared,” Hasina said in the parliament.

She said the security forces would continue to track down the militants anywhere in the country and they would be exposed to justice even if it takes years or decades.

Hasina’s comments came after three operatives of the outlawed Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were killed in two pre-dawn security raids early on Tuesday in Dhaka and north-western Rajshahi while another member of the outfit was killed overnight at Shibganj sub-disrict in north west Bogra.

“We raided the village in Shibganj after midnight yesterday on a secret tip . . . they (JMB men) opened fire and hurled bombs sensing our presence at the scene forcing us to retaliate when Jausar (slain militant) was killed,” said a police officer in Bogra.

A senior police officer familiar with the crackdowns said two of the slain JMB operatives were being looked for attack on a Shiite Mosque last year in Bogra and “one of them was killed early this morning in Shibganj while the other was killed yesterday in Dhaka’s Kalshi area.”

The intensified anti-terror clampdown call comes as the country witnesses a wave of deadly attacks on secular activists and minorities by militants.

A 70-year-old Hindu priest became the second person from the community to be killed by three suspected Islamic State jihadists this year in the country. The priest was hacked to death by motorcycle-borne men in western Jhinaidah on Tuesday.

The suspected Islamists on Sunday hacked to death a Christian grocer in northwestern Natore and on the same day stabbed and then shot dead wife of a senior police officer who carried out a series of anti-militant operations in Chittagong.

Replying to a question by a lawmaker, Hasina had said the militants had previously carried out their attacks on mosques, temples, pagodas and university teachers and now they made the family member of a police officer their victim.

“They (killers) should not forget that they also have families, who can also be affected by their actions . . . I would request the family members of those who are carrying out the killings, to make them understand it,” Hasina had said.

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