Some 20-25% districts in Bangladesh are at risk of militant activities and the tendency is significant among students of village and rural level educational institutes where some 26% students have received offers to join militant activities, a new study has revealed.
Non-government organisation Shopner Desh, who conducted a preliminary research on impact of militancy, has also found that 87% of the rural students who got offers think that militant activities are justified.
Among them, 89% female students and 86% boys of rural institution believe the militant propaganda.
On the other hand, 49% students from urban level educational institutes received direct proposals from militants and over social media. Some 24% respondents (both male and female) said they believed what the extremist groups propagate.
The findings came up in a test survey on the impacts of militancy among students of two institutions with reported history of radical activities – Bohorpur Degree College, Rajbari and North South University, Dhaka.
The paper was presented before media at Sagar-Runi auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday in presence of former national team cricketer Javed Omar Belim Golla, legendary rock star Shafin Ahmed and prominent actress Tazin Ahmed.
Launched in September last year by public figure and academic Bobby Hajjaj, Shopner Desh is dedicated to building a better nation through creating a more empowered and enlightened polity.
The study has found that the extremist groups target mostly the youths and propagate their agenda saying: they are protectors of Islam, democracy is Shirk and the Western world is attacking Islam.
Almost half of the rural students were told that West was working against Islam and that the extremists serve the religion. Some 19% were told that politicians are evil and 2% told that democracy is Shirk.
On the other hand, 46% of the urban students received information against the West, 28% against democracy, 23%in favour of the militants and 3% against politicians.
Some 44% rural students and 7% urban students said they had received messages physically. The other ways of communication were invitation from friend through internet, surfing themselves, print literature supplied by friends and elders.
At the press conference, member of band group Miles Shafin Ahmed said: “Some 40% of the population is youth; this is a huge number. We have to think about their future ... whether they are on the right track.”
He said that due to distortion of Islam, the Muslims had been humiliated in the international arena.
Actress Tazin thinks that militancy would not last in Bangladesh because the youths would help the country advance further.
Asian University teacher Abdullah M Taher, media personality Syeda Sadia Mehjabeen, Bangladesh Medical College teacher Dr Gazi Gias Uddin and Shopner Desh Organising Secretary Khalid Imtiaz Ahmed were also present at the programme.