The question has arisen as to whether the government had any prior intelligence on the protests and violence during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. Clashes broke out in the Baitul Mukarram area on the morning of March 26, just four hours after Narendra Modi set foot in Dhaka. Its remnants spread to different areas of Chittagong including Hathazari and Brakshanbaria. The law enforcement agencies have to get enough speed to handle the whole situation.
A number of Home Ministry officials told Prothom Alo on condition of anonymity that there was no advance intelligence that such a thing could happen. The police intelligence agency has failed. They did not seem to have any intensive investigation into the situation. No advance information was received from other organizations about the violence. The issue is of security concern.
In this regard, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo that it seems that the detectives have some failures. However, the matter is being investigated. After the investigation can be said exactly what is happening or whose failure?
The Special Branch of the Police (SB) along with other intelligence agencies of the government collects advance information and risk analysis on the ground security situation in case of visit of foreign dignitaries. According to Home Ministry sources, the lack of advance information surrounding the visit of the Indian Prime Minister and subsequent violence in different parts of the country is evident in the course of events in the last few days. The government is embarrassed by such violence while the Prime Minister of India is in Bangladesh.
However, several SB officials told Prothom Alo that there was no information about what could happen before or after the visit of the Indian Prime Minister (March 26-27). Maybe the information did not come in the way it should have come from the district level. That’s right, not all SB officers at the district level are equally skilled.
According to Home Ministry sources, SB is not an attractive place for posting police officers for various reasons. Of these, when someone is deprived of promotion, the interest in working decreases. At the district level SB is basically to function as a branch under the Superintendent of Police. But at the district level, every other intelligence agency has a separate unit.
In these three days from March 26 to 28, at least 18 people were killed in Brakshanbaria and Chittagong in anti-Modi protests in different districts including Dhaka and in the wake of the strike called by Hefazat-e-Islam across the country. Officials in charge of the home ministry are assessing the whole situation, saying that after the death of Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi, the Amir of Hifazat-e-Islam, no one has sole control over the organization’s activities. The Home Minister called on the leaders of Hifazat to avoid any disturbance surrounding Narendra Modi’s visit. But even though the leaders assured that there would be no chaos, the custody leaders could not control the workers. Students of Qawmi Madrasa, a supporter of Hefazat, are not listening to the leaders of the organization like before.
During the visit of the Prime Minister of India, Brigadier General (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, a security analyst on the conflict, told Prothom Alo that if the government does not have advance intelligence, it must investigate the matter. The Home Ministry must find out the reason.