Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to continue its drives against drug abuse, including drug peddlers, as this menace is spreading rapidly across society.
"We have been able to achieve success in conducting drives against militancy. Now it will have to be continued against drug abuse," she said at a function marking RAB’s 14th founding anniversary at its headquarters in Dhaka’s Kurmitola area on Thursday.
“If children get addicted to narcotics, nothing can be a bigger shock than this for their families,” she said.
"All those who produce illegal drugs, sell them, carry them, and use them are equally guilty. Proper measures have to be taken accordingly.”
The PM also asked the intelligence agencies, other law enforcement agencies, Border Guard Bangladesh, defence forces, educational institutions as well as family members to be careful so that the youth do not get addicted to drugs.
She also directed RAB and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to continue their drives against different social problems, including food adulteration, smuggling, and currency and passport forgery.
"Why is food adulterated? Now there is no scarcity in food. Bangladesh is now self-reliant in food. Alongside arranging food for our 16 crore people, Bangladesh is feeding some 1.1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who have taken shelter here," she said.
The prime minister said militancy had now become a global problem but Bangladesh has set an example in containing the menace.
She thanked RAB for playing a special role in curbing militancy through its drives against militants.
Terming Islam a religion of peace, she said there was no room for terrorism and militancy in any form in Bangladesh.
She said those who were terrorists and believed in militancy had no religion, country, or nation. "They are terrorists and militants. They are the enemies of society, the nation, and the country.
"It's possible to contain militancy by waging a social movement with the coordinated efforts of all, including guardians, teachers, imams of mosques, and other religious clerics. We have proved it...Now Bangladesh is acclaimed for this feat throughout the world," Hasina added.
She went on saying: "Parents have to know where their children go. There are many rich people who always run after money and think they have performed their big responsibility by giving a bundle of money to their children to fulfil their demands. They have hardly any time to know where their children go and what they do."
Rehabilitation of Sundarban pirates
About the pirates of the Sundarbans who have surrendered, the prime minister said they had to surrender and return to normal life due to the rigid stance of RAB as the elite force has intensified its drives against the pirates in the world's largest mangrove forest.
The government provided financial assistance to the pirates who surrendered to the law enforcement agencies. If any other pirates surrender, the government would gradually rehabilitate them by making arrangements for their livelihoods, she said.
Talking about the question paper leaks during the recent public examinations, Sheikh Hasina said the drive was still on against this crime.
"All ministries concerned, intelligence agencies, and RAB are active against the problem. I think RAB’s presence (in the drive to contain question paper leaks) gives a strong message to them (criminals)," she added.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan also spoke at Thursday’s program where RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed delivered the welcome speech.
Earlier, the prime minister was given a guard of honour by a contingent of RAB following her arrival at the venue.
At the event, she also laid the foundation stone of RAB Headquarters Complex and inaugurated “Prerona Dhara,” a monument built in memory of the RAB members who sacrificed their lives in line of duty.