Bangladesh cracks down on militants, detains over 1,700

A woman cries during a church service led by Reverend Barnbash, who has received death threats from ISIS, at a village church March 24, 2016 in Rangpur, Bangladesh. Photograph:( Getty )

PTI Dhaka Jun 11, 2016, 09.49 AM (IST)
Bangladesh police have detained over 1,700, including some members of an outlawed militant outfit Jamayatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), as part of a crackdown to halt the wave of brutal attacks on minorities and secular activists by Islamists, officials said today.

A total of 1,740 people were detained after top police officials decided at a meeting on Thursday to launch an anti-militant drive.

On the first day of the week-long drive, about 1,600 people were detained across the country yesterday. At least 140 people were detained today from different districts in the wake of recent killings, 'The Daily Star' reported.

Of the total 140 detainees, 88 are from Rajshahi district, 35 from Satkhira and 17 from Natore.Nine enlisted militants were among the 88 persons detained from Rajshahi, the report said.

Eight of them belong to Jamayatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), while another belongs to Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), said Shariful Alam, assistant superintendent of police in Rajshahi.

Bangladesh has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on religious minorities and secular activists.

A 60-year-old Hindu ashram worker was yesterday hacked to death by ISIS jihadists while he was out for a morning walk. This happened just days after another priest was killed by terrorists of the same outfit in the Muslim-majority nation.

The latest attack came just hours after police said they launched a nationwide anti-militancy drive besides engaging the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh.

The security clampdown was launched a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised to intensify a nationwide anti-terror security clampdown.

In February militants stabbed to death a Hindu priest at a temple and shot and wounded a devotee who went to his aid.

In April, a liberal professor was brutally hacked to death in Rajshahi city. In the same month, a Hindu tailor was hacked to death in his shop and Bangladesh's first gay magazine editor was brutally murdered along with a friend in his flat in Dhaka by Islamists.