Persistent security concerns in admin

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Rozina Islam | Mar 12, 2015

Despite the government’s claim that the law and order is normal, the police, BGB and Ansar have been asked to continue providing security for the railway, roads and highways and also for officials and establishments of field-level administration.

And special security has also been requested for the buses meant for the officials and employees posted at the Bangladesh Secretariat.

Earlier, a total of 8328 Ansar men had been deployed in 1041 places for railway security. After a letter was issued, this was extended by 45 days. And 11,916 Ansar and VDP personnel were deployed in 993 vulnerable spots along the highways.

The home ministry has written to the road transport ministry asking how many days will the Ansars need to be deployed on the roads and highways.

The information ministry has asked the Bangladesh Television and Betar to broadcast campaigns in the media regarding how to take action against those making and hurling petrol bombs.

The cabinet division has also written to all ministries and departments, asking them to cooperate with the home ministry in resisting violence and maintaining the law and order.

Officials of the field administration feel that the law and order situation has deteriorated during the BNP-led 20-party alliance-called hartal and blockade.

The government said it will bring the situation under control within seven to 10 days, but the field level does not think this will be possible. Some ministers and ruling party leaders spoke of such timeframe a few times at the beginning of the movement in January.

However, the alarm at the beginning of the political programmes has abated somewhat. People are moving around more and the blockade and also hartal is hardly visible.

The people are only scared of sudden petrol bomb attacks. In recent times certain offices, the land offices in particular, have been targetted. It has been decided to strengthen security at the land offices too.

Sources in the home ministry and the cabinet division said, Ansars and BGB personnel were deployed from 12 January to ensure safe communication by railway and on the roads and highways. On 28 February the time for the railway line security was extended by another 48 days.

In the meantime, the director general of the Bangladesh Employees Welfare Board, under the public administration ministry, has asked the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner to provide security for 61 of the staff buses.

One 10 March, ABM Azad, deputy commissioner of Kurigam requested for another 47 platoons of BGB personnel to be deployed alongside the district police, to maintain law and order. This security was requested for seven thanas (police stations in each upazila), including Kurigram sadar.

On the same day, Chittagong’s deputy commissioner requested for two BGB platoons each for nine upazilas. Requests also came for three BGB platoons in Kushtia.

The home ministry ordered deployment of 5780 Ansar and VDP members on 8 March in Khulna to ensure security during certain religious programmes and also to protect the railway line and the Khulna Polytechnic Institute (KPI).

A letter was sent from Rajshahi asking for reinforcements of Ansar deployment to ensure law and order there. Directives were given for 50 battalion-Ansar members for the security of five upazilas in Lakshmipur.

The Bogra police superintendent requested for deployment of armed ansars in the district.

In a similar manner, almost everyday requests are flooding in for deployment of the police, ansar and BGB personnel all over the country.

In almost all the letters, it has been stated that sabotages may occur at anytime due to the BNP-Jamaat hartal-blockade.

Ministry sources said, instructions have been issued to deploy necessary personnel of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Ansars and police.

These steps are being taken to provide security for the people and their property, to maintain normal economic activities and to uphold law and order.

State minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told Prothom Alo that orders have been issued to deploy BGB, Ansar and police personnel wherever necessary, in keeping with the requests from the deputy commissioners.

He said, the letters from the deputy commissioners are being looked into every day. This was no cause for concern.