Curbing terrorism top priority: NHRC

23 February 2014

Elimination of the roots of militancy in Bangladesh should be the country's top priority, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman has said.
"The rise of militancy poses a serious threat to human rights in Bangladesh," he told a seminar at Hotel Radisson on Saturday. "Its elimination should be Bangladesh's top priority."
The discussion on the threat of terror in Bangladesh was arranged by the Centre for Peace and Development and attended by prominent personalities from various fields.
The event was held against the backdrop of an audio-video clip circulating on the Internet with a still photo of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri along with videos of police action in Bangladesh.
Zawahiri, in his message, calls Bangladesh 'a huge prison' and asks its Muslims to start an 'intifada' [uprising] against the 'secular' government in Bangladesh and other 'enemies of Islam'.
Rahman said, alleged extrajudicial killings and abductions cannot prevent extremism from striking deep roots.
Speakers in the discussion agreed that Jamaat-e-Islami should be banned along with outfits that promote terror activities.
"It will be a mistake to view terrorism just from Bangladesh's perspective," said Amir-ul-Islam, former president of the Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association.
"The rise in terror must be seen in the light of things happening around the world."
Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee's Shahriar Kabir agreed, saying, "We will never know the true extent of militancy in Bangladesh without the knowledge of how terror networks have spread globally."
Bangladesh should ban Jamaat to avoid 'a harvest of terrorists', he said.
Referring to the barrage of claims and counter claims that followed the al-Qaeda message, Kabir said, "Blame game over militancy serves no purpose and instead it encourages al-Qaeda."
Liberation War Museum Trustee Sarwar Ali said, "Two main reasons contribute to the rise of militancy not only in Bangladesh but the entire sub-continent."
One was deteriorating security measures, and the other, was due to differences in basic ideals.
"Bangladesh's Liberation War was a moral struggle. There is an ongoing effort to destroy this achievement by spreading radical Islamic views among people at the grass roots."
"We are now facing a security and moral risk but we shouldn't just look at the government for solution."
He urged that the crisis be tackled with people's unity.
Celebrated cultural personality Ali Zaker said, "Those who were defeated in our glorious war of Liberation are still lurking to snatch our victory." "The war isn't over."
"Militants are made when people are cheated into believing a manipulated version of religion," said former Chief of Bangladesh Army Major General KM Safiullah.
Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said it would not be possible to eradicate terror with police encounters and that the scourge would continue to pose a threat unless good governance was established.

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