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Govt for tougher actions against radicalization

  • Published at 03:01 pm July 1st, 2018
  • Last updated at 03:12 pm July 1st, 2018
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File photo the Holey Artisan Bakery, where a group of militants carried out a barbaric attack on the night of July 1, 2016, at Gulshan, Dhaka Dhaka Tribune

Two years into the Holey Artisan terror attack, Japan lauds untiring efforts by Bangladeshi government to curb militancy and terrorism

The Government of Bangladesh and its foreign allies want to continue their strong cooperation against radicalization and terrorism as the country is set to observe the second anniversary of the deadly Holey Artisan attack.

Bangladesh's partners appreciate that there have been zero incidents involving foreign citizens in the two years that have passed, with the government aiming to strengthen efforts to strike hard in four areas - recruitment, fundamentalism, radicalization, and terrorism.

Twenty-two people - nine Italians, seven Japanese, an Indian, a Bangladeshi-born American, and two Bangladeshis - were killed in the terror attack on the upscale restaurant in Dhaka on July 1, 2016.

A case was filed with the Gulshan police station in connection with the terror attack. Later, the case was transferred to the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).

"We acknowledge that there has not been a single incident that involves foreign citizens in these two years after the Holey Artisan cafe attack. We commend the untiring efforts by the government of Bangladesh," Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Hiroyasu Izumi said.

He said if the Bangladesh government could successfully dispel security concerns, more and more investment from foreign countries, including Japan, will come to Bangladesh.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said the government has so far been successful in dealing with the areas of recruitment, radicalization and fundamentalism, and, finally, checking terrorism. 

"We've been successful so far. But we aren't complacent. It's a continuous process," he told UNB mentioning that every country is vulnerable when they see deadly shootings and killing like the recent one in Maryland in the USA, the truck attack in Nice, France, and attacks in other parts of the world.

US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat recently said: "As partners over the years, we've developed the resources, the commitment, and the shared experiences we need to counter terrorism and violent extremism."

She said the US is determined to continue to work together with partners for the safety and security of the partner countries. 

"This is a global issue that requires a coordinated, global approach," she added.

State Minister M Shahriar Alam said fundamentalism begins under the shelter of political parties like Jamaat and it is the government's responsibility to check and stop recruitment flow.

"Radicalization process through social media has dropped significantly, though some foreign sites are still trying in some cases," he said.

Mentioning the government's multi-pronged approach, the state minister said: "We need to continue international cooperation in dealing with cross-border issues."

He credited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's “absolute zero tolerance” call and said there has been massive support from the root levels with much earned awareness, including the contributions of citizens, imams, madrasa teachers, and social leaders.

"That is our main contributing factor to stopping someone from being caught in the process of radicalization," Shahriar Alam said.

"Not mere words, we believe in action. Based on the success, we're confident that we will be able to fight at all levels - recruitment, fundamentalism, radicalization and terrorism, with support from home and abroad," he added.

Bangladesh Police now has a full-fledged Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) with a nationwide jurisdiction to combat militancy and terrorism apart from Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, the only specialized counterterrorism unit of police under the DMP to launch anti-militancy operations.

"We're now well equipped technologically with skilled personnel," said the state minister.

Dhaka Metropolitan Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah on Thursday said the chargesheet in the Holey Artisan cafe attack case will be submitted within ten days.

"All the accused who supplied arms, explosives, and financed the attack have now been now identified," said Asaduzzaman.

Several accused who had direct involvement in the attack were killed in gunfights with law-enforcers, he added.