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From Surjadighal Bari to Atia Mahal

  • Published at 01:31 am March 27th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:59 pm March 27th, 2017
From Surjadighal Bari to Atia Mahal
For the residents of Sylhet, this is an all too familiar horror. The joint operation by military para-commandos and police rolled into its third day on Sunday as the militants holed up in a building in Shibbari, Sylhet refused to yield. In the evening, an army spokesperson reported that two militants had been killed but possibly more than one were still alive and active inside Atia Mahal. Sylhet’s residents say they are being forced to recall the terror that gripped them 11 years ago when another terrorist den had been similarly besieged. Just14km from this den, in Sylhet city’s Shaplabagh, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his associates had been found by law enforcement in a house called Surjadighal Bari. However, the stand-off between Abdur Rahman, his two associates and his wife and children, and about 2,000 law enforcement officials, which went from February 28 till March 2, 2006, had ended without bloodshed. Not so with the Shibbari situation. There, six lives have already been lost in a suicide attack, three of the victims, civilians. The resurgence of militancy in this conservative Muslim town with its rich Islamic heritage, has brought with it all the fear and trepidation felt in 2006. Official Independence Day events were carried out in Sylhet on Saturday, but the usually jubilant citizens were rather subdued this time around. “What Independence Day? We have no safety. Who is independent?” said Dara Mia, a local cosmetics vendor. Siddiq Ali, a restaurant owner in Pathanpara, said his regular customers had been absent for four days now. His was the only restaurant open in the neighbourhood; his only customers: journalists and law enforcers.
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