From the Editor-in-Chief: Killing in Panchagarh is an ominous sign

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, February 25th, 2016
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It is a dark hint of things portentous. The murder of a Hindu priest in Debiganj Upazila of Panchagarh once more raises the spectre of militants determined to undermine peace and social harmony in the country. The police have arrested three people on suspicion of their links to the crime and we are given to understand they have links with extremist groups. At the same time, the so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murder. There is, therefore, good reason to think that there are indeed affiliates of IS, if not IS itself, which are engaged in the job of trying to eliminate people of faiths they tend to be dismissive of as also individuals of a liberal temperament in the country. The murder of quite a few bloggers and a publisher in recent times will, as long as those responsible for the crimes are not apprehended and brought to justice, remain a stigma for all of us.

 

Credible reports are there to suggest that some young people, especially bloggers and freethinkers, have left the country out of fear that they might be killed by the fanatics otherwise. And we are aware that the widow of Avijit Roy, who was murdered by religious extremists at the Ekushey Book Fair last year, remains concerned, like the rest of us, about the inability of the authorities to take action against the bigots and have the killers of her husband and of others brought to justice. In recent months, the killing of two foreigners and now the murder of a Hindu priest surely do not enhance our reputation in the international community. Such incidents of crime only reinforce the idea that the police and other security agencies in the country need to demonstrate more skill and efficiency in handling crime, especially when the fanatics continue to threaten to kill a number of prominent citizens of the country. Unless these fanatics are dealt with harshly, peace will remain an elusive affair for citizens.

 

It is encouraging, of course, to know that quite a few dens of religious fanaticism have been busted over the past few months. The very fact that these dens have been located and neutralized is again a sign of the network these criminals have clearly set up throughout the country, a macabre system that certainly makes their dark mentors outside the country happy. The whole thing is an argument of why operations against extremist hideouts must be on-going and relentless and should not be undertaken only when a crime has taken place. A well-developed strategy must be devised to target the forces of extremism and uproot them without pity. These people have embarked on a sinister mission of undermining civilized life not only in Bangladesh but elsewhere around the world as well, which is a huge reason for the authorities in this country to remain alert at all times. The best guarantee of security for a state is vigilance of the highest order twenty four hours of the day.

 

It is our expectation that the police will investigate, fully and in determined fashion, the crime that has been committed in Panchagarh. Those investigations must be intense, foolproof and swift. We as citizens are not willing to see similar crimes being committed in future.

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