A number of militants are seeking accommodation in outskirts due to lower intensity of policing using false information and fake national ID cards for rentals.
In the aftermath of the latest raids on militant hideouts in Sitakunda, the Chittagong police said that due to intensified vigilance in Chittagong city, the militants see industrial zones and areas adjacent to Dhaka-Chittagong highways as safer hideout options.
Moreover, combing for militants become increasingly difficult as many landowners are still reluctant to run background checks on their tenants, the police claimed. Besides, landowners in the outskirts are comparatively less aware about threats of militancy, and the militants tend to take full advantage of that.
Rehana Beghum, owner of Chhayaneer, one of the Sitakunda houses that were being used as hideouts, told the Dhaka Tribune that a man in his mid-20s had rented the flat in late January identifying himself as a rubber trader. Although he had provided the xerox of a national ID card, she never felt the need to verify the document.
In a seven-day window, law enforcers busted three militant hideouts in Mirsarai and Sitakunda upazilas (sub-district) of Chittagong. Militants connected to all three hideouts used fake national ID cards. Militants had rented the Mirsarai house posing as cloth merchants.
However, one of the Sitakunda hideouts were busted on Wednesday due to the bold efforts and verification of tenant informationby landlord Shubhash Chandra Das and his wife Chobi Rani Das.
Noor E Alam Mina, Chittagong Superintendent of Police (SP), said that it is difficult for the police to scrutinise rental information in the outskirts as they are usually very busy with other duties. Landowners from outskirts also tend to not come to the police with information of their tenants, he said.
Although there are 16 police stations under the area of Chittagong City Corporation, 14 upazilas in Chittagong district have 16 police stations combined.
“We have repeatedly requested landlords to not rent out to suspicious people and to provide tenants’ information to the nearby police station,” he said. But they are reluctant to do the latter, he added.
Noor, however, said that police have undertaken fresh initiatives to scrutinise rental information.