From the Editor-in-Chief: The struggle for a society free of militancy

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
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The recent uptick in militant activity must give us pause for thought – are we really winning the war against extremism? Or is it so entrenched that we must now think beyond mere security solutions?

 

Following last year’s peak for militancy represented by the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, we could be forgiven for thinking our security forces had managed to get things under control with their actions in the weeks and months that followed. All the way upto the capture and killing of militant leader Tamim Chowdhury, it was a wave of success for the law enforcement agencies that may even have led some to believe our war against extremism was won. But even if it led to a quiet few months, as recent events in the capital and Sylhet have shown, there is most definitely no room for complacency in the battle against extremism, for once the seed has germinated in a society, its manifestations can be numerous, and varied.

 

Not only that. What we have also seen is that the extremists are not at all averse to adding new dimensions to their overall outlook. The bombings near the airport, of which one has been confirmed as a suicide bombing while the other looks uncannily like one, represented a new twist in the tale certainly for those fighting extremism on these shores, for they wouldn’t have encountered suicide bombers in the past. Even in Sylhet, to avoid being captured alive, the militants are known to have strapped on ‘suicidal vests’. This is a new feature to militancy in Bangladesh, no doubt. And we must investigate how much it was allowed to come into the picture, even as we thought our battle against extremism was being fought successfully. Are the extremists now preying on even more desperate segments of society? There have been disturbing reports in recent times of a wave of extremism flowing through the Rohingya community as a result of their years of persecution at the hands of the Myanmarese authorities. Our law enforcers and special forces must act in a proactive manner and with prescience, to find out the truth behind such allegations and deal with them.

 

Finally, we as a society must endeavour to always keep our eyes and ears open to the threat that lives and breathes among us, and always report any suspicious behaviour or action to the authorities so they may address it. The battle against militancy and extremism cannot be left up to the authorities alone.

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