Bangladesh Arrests Thousands in Effort to End Attacks on Minorities

More than 3,000 have been arrested and detained in Bangladesh in an effort to put a stop to a wave of attacks against minority groups. Attacks have been carried out in Bangladesh over the last several months against secular bloggers, gay rights activists and followers of minority religions. The intensification of the efforts began after militants killed the wife of a police superintendent. Other victims in the last ten days alone include a Hindu monastery worker, an elderly Hindu priest and a Christian shopkeeper. The attackers are usually young men who use machetes as their weapon of choice.

“We have arrested 3,155 people … as part of the special drive over the last 24 hours,” said A.K.M Shahidur Rahman, deputy police inspector general.

“The militants included 27 members of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh,” he added

In addition to the suspected “Islamic militants,” the detained include hundreds who already had warrants out for their arrest.

“It may take time, but God willing, we will be able to bring the perpetrators under control,” Prime Minister Hasina said at a meeting of her ruling Awami League party on Saturday.

“Where will the criminals hide? Each and every killer will be brought to book,” she stated.

The crackdown has been criticized by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party. Its leaders have accused Hasina of using the atmosphere of terror that the attacks have spawned as an excuse to arrest political dissidents.

“In the name of an antimilitant drive, the government is arresting opposition activists, including B.N.P. and other antigovernment people,” said Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, the party’s senior joint secretary general.

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