In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we need to purge the country of drug abuse, militancy, and piracy'
Home MinisteAsaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said that security forces never kill drug peddlers in shootouts but retaliate in self-defence.
“Law enforcement never fires shots at anybody. Some of them succumb to their injuries when law enforcement retaliates in self-defence. Also, there are incidents where police and RAB members were also injured,” he claimed on Wednesday, at an event near the Sundarbans in Khulna, where 57 members of six notorious robber gangs surrendered to the minister.
They also deposited 58 guns and 1,284 bullets, said Khandaker Rafiqul Islam, commanding officer of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-6.
Earlier, the Home Ministry gave the robbers Tk1 lakh each for their commitment to return to normal life.
However, Asaduzzaman made his comments after rights bodies had voiced concerns over the deaths of “drug peddlers” in gunfights with security forces over the last couple of days.
“We have a detailed list of drug traders, prepared by intelligence agencies. Following the list, law enforcement is conducting drives to arrest the kingpins. And all of the arrestees are being brought to justice,” he said.
“In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we need to purge the country of drug abuse, militancy, and piracy. Law enforcement agencies have been working relentlessly to this end.”
The minister expressed hope that the world’s largest mangrove forest would soon be declared free of pirates and robbers.
“To achieve the government’s Vision 2021 and Vision 2041, we need to protect our young generation from the curse of drugs. Law enforcement has been carrying out drives against drugs across the country, complying with the directives of our prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.”
He further said that over 3,000 drug dealers had been brought to justice in recent times.
“Help us arrest drug dealers. They are out there to ruin our society and nation. Keep an eye on your children so they do not get derailed,” he told the event.
RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed said those who were raising concerns over the deaths of drug peddlers were actually patronizing them.
“We are also thinking about those who are shedding tears for drug dealers, because they are the ones who patronize drug peddling. They will not be spared either, for the sake of a narcotics-free society.”
Some robbers are still active in the forest. RAB has already listed them and gathered information about their families, Benazir said.
“Those robbers who have yet to be arrested will have to face dire consequences unless they surrender and return to normal life. Not only the robbers but also their families will pay a high price if they do not come back on track.”
The forest will be declared robber-free this year by September or October, the RAB chief said.
State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, Narayon Chandra Chanda, Khulna city mayor-elect, Talukder Abdul Khaleque, and officials of the police, Bangladesh Coast Guard, and Border Guard Bangladesh, were also present at the event chaired by Rafiqul.