People in the settlements and slums alongside the railway tracks [in Dhaka] are evicted regularly but they always come back, says RAB DG
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Thursday urged the government to take steps about the relentlessly re-appearing slums in Dhaka as they are a hotbed for rape, drugs, and other criminal activities.
“People inhabiting the settlements and slums alongside the railway tracks [in Dhaka] are evicted regularly. But it is seen that a few days later, they come back and begin living there as they did earlier. Something needs to be done about this ‘cat and mouse’ game,” said RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed at a press briefing over security measures taken for the Bishwa Ijtema beginning on Friday.
“Criminals use these slums for drug trade, raping the innocent, making Dhaka city and Bangladesh insecure. We [RAB] will not accept this.”
To ensure security for Dhaka’s residents, RAB will conduct drives wherever necessary, the DG added while answering a question on the drives being conducted at Kurmitola rail line area after a Dhaka University student was raped in the area.
Seventy six temporary settlements have been dismantled so far while some more remain to be taken down.
“A few more settlements could be destroyed, but there are some illegal electricity connections, which may lead to accidents [during the drives],” he said, adding that those would also be destroyed soon.
The RAB DG vowed to help Bangladesh Railway if it sought assistance from it as the property belongs to it.
“From Dhaka to Narayanganj, there is a lot of railway land occupied by slums. We should view them from a humanitarian perspective but at the same time we should not tolerate the criminal activities happening there,” he said.
Regarding security measurements for the Bishwa Ijtema, the RAB DG said that personnel of the elite force would patrol the perimeter of the Ijtema grounds in Tongi over the next three days.