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20th-Jul-2016

All missing youths not militants in hiding

By Special Correspondent

The issue of missing youths has hit the headlines after militants' attacks at Gulshan café and Sholakia as the attackers were reportedly absent from their families for several months before staging the attacks. Police said the five Gulshan café attackers and one Sholakia assailant are among about 200 youths missing for several months. But it is not correct to assume that whoever is missing from homes have joined militancy. There may be many more reasons for stay away from homes maintaining or without maintaining contacts. According to general diaries (GD) filed at police stations across the country, the number of missing persons is 59 in Dhaka division, 22 in Sylhet, 52 in Bogra, 15 in Barisal, 27 in Rajshahi, 18 in Khulna and 25 were in Chittagong. The number may further rise. Most of the missing people with good educational background have reportedly stopped communication with their families raising the fear that they might have joined militancy by way of radicalization. But it is only 'speculation' without having any concrete evidence.The security agencies are now in massive hunt for missing youths to ascertain their hideouts and gather other information whether they plugged into local militant networks or left the country for other reasons. The Police Headquarters has already formed a special cell to coordinate verifications of the missing youths.  "We have already asked the concerned officer of all police stations to send reports on missing youths to the Police Headquarters.  A list of the missing persons would be finalised after tracing all necessary information of whereabouts of the persons after searching hospitals, hospital morgues, immigrations desk at airports and such other points. Whether a person is missing because of abductions or enforced disappearances will also be looked into," a senior police official at the Police Headquarters told The New Nation yesterday.Many believe that some persons may be lured by IS recruiters as they offer people jobs and money and people in needs may readily take the offer. We must have enough jobs and awareness to protect our youths from being falling into trap. Report said a five member family from Khilgaon disappeared last year and they were last reported at Turkey. Indications suggest that they have gone to IS territories in Syria where they give jobs and houses. Some other cares were similarly reported. There might be some other reasons such as fear of life and personal security that a young man may suffer from to decide about going into hiding inside the country or outside. At a time of political hostility at the peak, young people belonging to opposition parties may keep away from home and even their families may not like to disclose where they are living for safety. Many may also leave families out of frustration and anger and remain out of contact, although they are not criminal any way. Many also may leave the country for jobs abroad through informal channels where the possibility of documentation may not be possible. This is how thousands of our young people left the country by sea routes for Thailand and Malaysia. The number of Bangladeshi nationals going to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean through Italy and Turkey is plenty and many of them have also died. Families usually don't want to make the information public. People who died or killed without credible information are essentially not missing for joining militancy but it is not possible either to prove that their missing is in persuit in jobs abroad.