Law enforcers intensify vigilance

Following the series of bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, the deadliest such terror attack in south Asia’s history, Bangladeshi law enforcing agencies have already intensified their vigilances. Senior counter terrorism officials are holding crucial meetings one after another to chalk out their security plans across the country. However, most of the plans are reportedly centered on the Christian communities and five star hotels and other places where foreigners frequently gather.

Referring to the recent gun and bomb attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said, “Attempts are being made to carry out such heinous acts in Bangladesh. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have remained alert to avert such attempts.” Talking to the Bangladesh Post, a top counter terrorism official who led several major anti-militant drives across the country after the Holey Artisan attack, said “Following the militant attacks in Sri Lanka, we have taken adequate security measures to foil any possible terrorist activities in the country.”

He wished not be named as he is not interested to officially comment to media. National Thowheed Jama’at (NTJ) leader Maulvi Zahran Bin Hashim is being suspected as the mastermind of the Sri Lankan attacks which killed 359 people so far in eight suicidal blasts. Islamic State said through its AMAQ news agency the assaults in Sri Lanka were carried out by seven attackers. It is one of the worst attacks carried out by the group outside Iraq and Syria.

Indian leading newspaper the Hindustan Times in its exclusive report titled ‘India sent three alerts to Sri Lanka before Easter Sunday attack’ on April 24  said, “Indian agencies subsequently discovered Hashim’s mobile numbers as well and found that Hashim  was in touch with some IS functionaries in neighbouring Bangladesh. A senior government official who did not wish to be named said that Bangladesh too needs to be on the alert.”

While commenting on the Indian media reports about the alleged connections between Hashim   and ‘some IS functionaries’ in Bangladesh, the official of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit ( CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said, “ I do not think so.” Talking to the Bangladesh Post on Thursday, Sohel Rana, Assistant Inspector General (Media and Public Relations) of Bangladesh  Police however said, he did not come across the Indian media reports.

He also claimed that there is no security threats in the country following the terror attacks in Sri Lanka. Earlier on March 24, after the New Zealand gun attack in mosque, Bangladesh Post correspondent obtained a screen shot of a secretWhatsApp  message which had said,” Hi all, I am going home directly, and  I will work home tomorrow. We got strong warning email from Japanese and Indian Embassy – they got advice from police that there is possibility of terror attack targeting foreigners and we shouldn’t go outside next 24hours minimum.”

This message was sent by Mr Akira Morita, a Japanese who is currently working as the country manager of the Milvik Bangladesh. Mr Akira had sent the message to all of his top colleagues including Indian and Bangladeshiswho also work with the  Milvik Bangladesh. Later a copy of the message was obtained by this correspond from a highly credible source. Police sources said both the uniformed police teams and plainclothes detectives have started launching massive hunts in the capital and elsewhere in the country to arrest the criminals. 

Besides, all entry and exist points, including land ports, airports and naval ports in the country have been alerted to any terrorist attacks. Members of different law enforcing agencies, including police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), have been kept alert after Sunday’s bomb attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. All-out security measures have been taken at all international airports, including Hazrat Shah Jalal, to prevent entry of any militants.

Security personnel, including members of immigration and intelligence branches, have been put on high alert so that militants cannot enter Bangladesh through any airport, intelligence sources said. Chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Monirul Islam on Tuesday said there is no possibility of militant attack in the country as militants have no capacity to carry out organised terror attacks. He however acknowledged that the series bomb blasts in Sri Lanka might instigate militants across the world.

The militant attack of one country inspires militants and extremists of other countries, he said, adding that they being inspired by the attack attempt to carry out similar attacks in their own countries. Monirul Islam, the leading counter terrorism expert of the country, said, “After the deadly Holey Artisan attack in city’s Gulshan, a group of Indonesians was seen campaigning for launching similar attack in Indonesia..” After the New Zealand gun attack, some terror organizations were also seen launching anti-Christian and anti-Jew campaigns in their underground channels, Monirul disclosed.