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11th national election: Possible troublemakers under police watch

  • Published at 11:10 pm October 20th, 2018
Police are planning special drives to arrest listed criminals and recover illegal weapons as the 11th national election approaches Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Political cases revived; drives planned for underworld criminals, anarchists, and illegal arms holders

Law enforcement agencies are on high alert to prevent any untoward incidents, especially by keeping an eye on possible troublemakers, to make the upcoming national election peaceful.

The agency members along with intelligence wings are listing troublemakers that include underworld criminals, members of terror outfits and anti-liberation forces in order to keep law and order under control during the election, scheduled to be held at the end of this year, said top officials of the agencies.

Special drives will also be conducted against those who are likely to plan sabotage before and after the election, they added.

Home ministry sources said political cases in which many anarchists are named but remain absconding have been revived.

High officials of the police headquarters, including the inspector general of police, recently held meetings with all deputy inspectors general (DIG) of every single range and superintendents of police (SP), and were instructed to keep the law and order stable ahead of the election.

Emphasis was given to recover illegal firearms. Licensed arms holders will also be considered so that nobody can use these weapons during the election, said a top police official wishing not to be named.

Special drives will be conducted soon to recover illegal weapons and listed criminals of different cases will be arrested as well, he added.

Arrest of opposition activists: Part of a planned drive?

The large number of arrests of opposition activists is a relevant signal of the preparations.

BNP claimed that the government has launched a large scale arrest drive against it ahead of the upcoming national election.

Home ministry sources said police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have started their homework on the strategy of tackling anti-government movements ahead of the next parliamentary election.

There is a plan to conduct special drives across the country to prevent any subversive activities in the form of street movements.

Not only police and RAB, intelligence agencies are also updating the list of field level leaders and activists of BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and other likeminded parties, keeping an eye on those who are already named as accused in vandalism, arson and bomb attack cases.

Drives will be conducted against those who may carry out acts of sabotage in the name of movement as they did in 2014 and 2015, sources added.

Wishing anonymity, a number of police officials said they preparing full profiles of suspected people and their political affiliation; affiliation of their family members too will be investigated.

Citing intelligence information, they said there are risks that BNP and Jamaat-Shibir (Jamaat’s student wing) activists may wage movements over election time government and call for strike and other forms of protest to press for their demands.

- Home ministry sources said political cases in which many anarchists are named but remain absconding have been revived

- Special drives against sabotage will be conducted, with a focus on recovering illegal firearms

- Police and RAB have already begun planning strategies to tackle anti-government movements ahead of the next parliamentary election

- Intelligence agencies are also updating the list of field level leaders and activists of BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and other likeminded parties, and are observing those who have had cases filed against them

- Anonymous sources said police are already preparing full profiles those they suspect may plan sabotage

Police will be in strict position to prevent any kind of sabotage during these programs, said sources.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Assaduzzaman Mia said during any election all powers are handed over to the Election Commission (EC) and the public administration operates following the directions of the EC.

“For a supportive atmosphere, we will work together and we have already taken preparations. During the election, we will not only arrest criminals, but also ensure that people can go to polling centres and cast their votes without fear,” he said.

Many political cases, filed before and after the 2014 parliamentary election, have also been revived.

In addition to arresting people in old cases, police are also filing new cases across Bangladesh naming BNP central leaders, though most of the cases are filed in districts particularly in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet, Cox's Bazar, Bogra, Chapainawabganj, Sirajganj, Joypurhat, Comilla, Feni, Lakshmipur and Satkhira.

BNP resorted to violence before and after the 2014 parliamentary elections, demanding the restoration of the caretaker government and elections under a non-partisan government.

Scores of people were killed and hundreds of vehicles destroyed in arson attacks during their months of street protests before the election.

Inspector General of Police Md Javed Patwary said police will take action against anyone plotting subversive activities or creating anarchy.

“Police are fully capable of upholding law and order within Bangladesh. They are prepared, and are taking preparations to prevent any sabotage," he said.

"There is no relation between the arrests and the election. The arrests are not made against the leaders or activists of any particular party. Only those who have cases or warrants are arrested. They are not arrested based on their political identities," he said.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told the Dhaka Tribune that all wings under his ministry are working to identify people who are likely to plan sabotage and criminal or terror activities during the upcoming election.

“We are keeping an eye so that the Election Commission can take necessary steps ahead of the election,” he said.