Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013

A ‘futile’ combing operation

15 villages raided in Pabna to round up unruly Jamaat men but only 3 held

A joint force of police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) raided 15 villages under Pabna Sadar upazila yesterday in search of unruly Jamaat activists and their forearms but the four-hour-long drive virtually proved futile.
The law enforcers arrested only three people on suspicion of their involvement with Jamaat politics while no firearms or ammunition were found during the drive, police said.
Forty policemen, 22 RAB members and 30 BGB men under a couple of magistrates and several officials took part in the raid at 15 villages including Rajapur, Bangabaria, Pushpopara, Modhupur, Ataikula, Dhormogram, Shreepur, Goyeshpur and Dublia from 9:00am to 1:00pm yesterday.
“Six cases were filed accusing four to five thousand Jamaat men in separate incidents of violence in the area during the last 10 to 12 days. The joint force raided these villages to arrest the unruly Jamaat men and recover their firearms,” said Shamim Ahmed, additional superintendent of police (ASP) in Pabna.
“But the Jamaat men managed to escape before the drive. We picked up eight people and later released five of them. The three other suspects have been taken into custody. By now, all the male inhabitants of the villages, inhabited by a large number of Jamaat men, have left,” he added.
The ASP denied earlier leakage of the drive information.
Jamaat men put the barricades at several spots on Dhaka-Pabna highway from Rajapur to Pushpopara and vandalised Pabna Teachers Training College, Technical Training Institute, Bangladesh Open University campus and a few vehicles in the area from February 28 to March 5.
Earlier on February 23, clash between law enforcers and Jamaat men at Bangabaria and Modhupur left two men dead.
Different sources said 30 to 40 thousand Jamaat men live in over 15 villages under Pabna Sadar upazila.