He urged everyone, and the NGOs, to work together for the deradicalization of militants and extremists
Inspector General of Bangladesh Police Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary has said although militants in Bangladesh are being identified and jailed, they are not being deradicalized in prison.
He made the remarks at the concluding session of a two-day long National Conference on Preventing/Countering Violent Terrorism at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka on Tuesday.
He urged everyone, and the NGOs, to work together for the deradicalization of militants and extremists.
The IGP said: "We have conducted many raids across the country since 2016, and destroyed many militant dens."
He said police have put many of them in prison, but the militants are not being corrected there. "This is something we need to work on sincerely," he added.
"Even here [the conference], I have not seen a single NGO that works with imprisoned militants to deradicalize them. You need to initiate programs to work on this issue," the police official said.
He said: "With a goal in mind that says 'prevention is always better than cure,' our anti terrorism and counter terrorism units are working to create awareness in people to stop the spread of militancy."
The IGP added: "We have to plan the rehabilitation of those who are released after being jailed for terrorism. Moreover, motivating them is also essential for eliminating militancy from the country, which can be done most effectively by the religious leaders of Bangladesh.
"We have already asked the imams, the religious preachers of mosques, to deliver sermons against drugs, militancy, and terrorism. Those at risk of being radicalized will no longer be prone to it after hearing religious explanations and arguments against militancy."
Speaking about deradicalization at the same event, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said religious leaders have to play a key role in eradicating militancy as they are the only ones the extremists will listen to and obey.
He said there is a long way to go in this regard, because militants are not being reformed even after going to jail, though it is also true that the jail authorities do not have the knowledge and expertise required to deal with the matter.
We need to make special teams comprised of knowledgeable religious leaders to rehabilitate militants in prison. He was also hopeful that militancy can be prevented in future if everyone works on the issue together.
Addressing the event as chief guest, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal asked all parents to carefully monitor their children and ensure that they are not left feeling lonely and depressed.
The conference, drawing representatives from the Bangladesh government, civil society, and academia, is supported by the US Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre of the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, and the UN Development Program (UNDP).
At the conference, participants will showcase their ideas and efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and prepare a draft, “National Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Strategy,” to be submitted to the government of Bangladesh.