The raid on the militant hideout in Sitakunda reveals just how far and wide militancy has spread in the country and how deep its roots are growing. The innocent people caught up in the building where the operation took place, lived through horror and scare from Wednesday afternoon till Thursday morning. According to the police, four militants were killed in the raid. The report that three of them committed suicide is even more alarming.
After the Holey Artisan incident and the attack at the Sholakia prayer grounds, the government took up a stern stance against militants. Relentless operations resulted in the killing of many militant leaders. Many suspects were arrested. It was naturally assumed that they were weakened in strength and ability. But ground reality indicates they continue in their efforts to organise and consolidate themselves. This means the emergence of fresh militants. It also means there is no alternative but to continue to be vigilant and active in uprooting militancy. The law enforcement has been successful and must continue to be so.
Given the global circumstances, experts foresee further militancy rising up in countries like ours. So we need to adopt long term strategy in this regard. Social and political initiatives must be taken up alongside the anti-militant operations. Various strategies must be taken up to counter the extremist narrative. Global experience can be applied in this country too.
International terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna was in Bangladesh recently to join an international conference of police chiefs. In an interview with Prothom Alo he spoke of various initiatives to be taken up along with anti-militancy operations. He particularly stressed the need to change the mindset of militants who were in the prisons.
The fact remains that there is no effective initiative in our country to counter the extremist narrative and provide motivation as an alternative to militancy. This aspect must be given due importance.