Rapid Action Battalion director general Benazir Ahmed on Sunday urged home minister Asaduzzaman Khan to bar mobile money transfer services to Cox’s Bazar for two months as the minister said Colombia-style war against drugs would continue until Bangladesh could control drug menace.
‘We are requesting you to take necessary steps to stop mobile-banking services towards Cox’s Bazar for at least two months and we want to examine if it works,’ Benazir told the minister at a programme at the battalion media centre at Karwanbazar.
The battalion chief, however, told New Age after the programme that had no specific data on how much
money were being transferred to Cox’s Bazar through mobile banking services but they found that the money flow was huge considering the sources of income of the recipients.
The minister made no comments on the suggestion in his speech but said that Colombia could control their drug trafficking.
‘We have to win the war against drugs,’ the minister told the function organised to release a television commercial promoting awareness against drug abuse.
‘If challenged the law enforcing agencies will not sit idle,’ he said.
Inspector general of police Muhammad Javed Patwary, however, said, ‘The law enforcement agencies were not enough to curb menace of drugs as it has turned into a social problem.’
He said that there were about one crore drug abusers and 26 districts had no drug rehabilitation centre. The police chief also called for public awareness, and asked the media to portray their activities ‘positively’.
Home ministry’s public security division secretary Mostafa Kamal Uddin said that Yaba trading were being patronised in Myanmar and there was demand in Bangladesh.
He was annoyed about the drug abusers and said, ‘Are they humane? We do not need them.’
Security services division secretary of the home ministry Farid Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury focused on the rehabilitation and integration of drug abusers in the society.
He said that the ministry had taken initiative to build 200-bed rehabilitation hospitals in all the eight divisional headquarters while main drug rehabilitation hospital in the capital’s Tejgaon would be ungraded to 200 beds from 100 beds.
Department of Narcotics Control director general Jamal Uddin said that unless the demand in the country was stopped, the supply would not be stopped.
At the initial statement, the battalion chief highlighted their success in the past 80 days of anti-drug drives and said that they had encountered 37 critical operations among the 1,791 drives in which 47 ‘notorious drug dealers’ were killed.
Benazir expressed his concern over smuggling of drugs through the buses plying on Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar route and said they would sit with the bus owners shortly to discuss the issue.
Bangladesh began anti-drug crackdown across the country on May 15. Still it is continuing killing 195 suspects, opposition and ruling party leaders. The law enforcers have also arrested 37,000 people so far in the operation doubling the number of inmates in prisons.
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