Bangladesh detains 1,600 in crackdown on Islamists

Authorities in Bangladesh detained approximately 1,600 people June 10-11 in an effort to hunt down radical Islamist militants. Police suspect only 37 of the detainees are more than petty criminals, none of whom are believed to be "high-level operators." The raids were a response to multiple attacks in Bangladesh over the last few years, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has faced criticism regarding security for minorities and failure to prosecute suspects. Victims include atheist journalists, foreign aid workers, professors, gay rights activists and religious minorities including Christians, Hindus and Shi'ite Muslims. Amnesty International has also criticized the government for failing to provide adequate protection. Political parties in the country meanwhile expressed concern that the government would use the campaign to suppress opposition.

From Jurist, June 11. Used with permission.

Note: Following numerous attacks on secularist bloggers, LGBT advocates and the like, the government only took this dramatic action after the militants turned their ire on religious figures. The crackdown was unleashed hours after a Hindu ashram devotee was hacked to death in northern Pabna district. (PTI, BBC) Militants also targetted Shi'ites in a deadly bombing wave in Dhaka in October.

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