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Army goes tough on violators

Published : 02 Apr 2020 09:25 PM | Updated : 04 Sep 2020 04:30 AM

Bangladesh Army has adopted a ‘tougher’ position on resisting unnecessary gatherings and transport movements across the country in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. They have intensified their patrolling to control public gatherings and vehicle movements from Thursday.

They are requesting mass people not to come out of their houses. They are also building mass awareness in this regard. If the public does not pay heed to the request of the army, they are going on tougher mode, army sources told this correspondent. Eyewitness said after increasing army patrols in the streets and other public places, public gatherings have also significantly decreased across the country. However, in some places, gatherings were again seen immediately after army patrol teams left the places.

In Feni, army patrol ensured maintaining social distance and home quarantine. “We shall defeat the coronavirus, no more outside home”, they were seen announcing over loudspeakers. Army patrol teams were seen at Trunk road, Doel Chattor, Khejor Chattor and Boro Bazar area of the Feni town.

Local administration also accompanied them. They urged people not to open their business enterprises. Mobile courts also fined some businessmen for violating government order. According to Major Nayeem Rezwanl, from the very beginning one patrol team was working in Feni town. But three patrol teams are currently working. He said, “ We shall request people not to come out of their homes. We shall go into action, if they ( public) ignore our request.”

Executive magistrates and local police will also accompany us. They will give jail and other punishments, if necessary, he warned. We shall go tough to implement government decisions. We along with the District administration and law enforcing agencies are jointly working, he continued.

Not only in Feni town, army teams are working in five other Upazilas, he added. In Rajshahi town, an army patrol team was seen taking action on who violated government order to stay home. In Sylhet, Army and RAB teams started their patrols from around 11 am. As they had begun patrolling, crowds were not seen. Thirteen army teams were patrolling Sylhet town and all other Upazilas. Local administration including local Upazila Nirbahi Officers ( UNO) were seen with the patrol teams.

In Bogra, army patrol teams helped local police at different important areas, including the entry point of the city and Sathmatha area. They also set up checkposts on Dhaka-Bogra and Dhaka-Rangpur highways. In the Rajbari area, army patrol teams were seen working to stop public gatherings in a tougher mode. Baliakandhi UNO AKM Hedayetul Islam and Army Captain Ridwan were seen in the patrol team.
In Meherpur district also, army patrol teams took on tougher positions. They were patrolling different major highways and markets.

People had to go back to their homes to save themselves from the interrogation of the army personnel. In Natore, Army teams patrolled various areas including Natore town. They were urging people to use masks. They also ordered not to come out from their homes without very important reasons. In Gaibandha, army teams forced vehicles to go back after verifying their reasons for coming out.

In Shaheb Bazar area, they forcibly stopped many shops. They also took other legal actions in association with local administration. In Dhaka city, on the eight day of general holiday, army teams were seen in tougher mode. Dhaka Metropolitan Police are also controlling vehicle movement by setting up checkposts.

Army teams enhanced their patrolling city streets more than on previous days. Police also seized keys of cars when drivers failed to show any valid reason for coming out from homes. ADC ABM Jakir Hossain said, “ We are interrogating each and every car owner. We are also filing cases against them after verifying their reasons.”

In the capital, army teams also conducted operations in various residential areas to stop unnecessary gathering. They stopped shops not selling essentials. Captain Safawan bin Alamgir said, “ We are on the ground to look after the people who are out of their homes.” He said, “ Today we are in a tougher mode than earlier.” Earlier on Wednesday , Bangladesh Army informed the media that they would go on tough action from Thursday against people not maintaining social distancing and violating home quarantine rules.

Lt Col Abdullah Ibne Jayed, Director Inter Service Public Relation had said, “From Thursday, the army will strictly ensure social distancing and home quarantine in all parts of the country.” Strict action will be taken against those who would disobey instructions issued by the government, he said.

According to the ISPR boss,525 teams of Bangladesh Army were performing various activities to aid the local administration. The Army has been working from March 25 under "in aid to civil power". Earlier on March 23, the government decided to deploy members of the Armed Forces -- Army, Navy and Air Force - to tackle the coronavirus situation. Armed forces were deployed on March 24.