Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has reassured over 300 leftist extremists of support and cooperation so that they can reintegrate into society after their surrender.
The commitment was made during a ceremony in which 315 armed radicals, commonly known as Sorbohara, laid down their weapons permanently at the Rapid Action Battalion-12 headquarters in Sirajganj on Sunday.
During the 80s, these leftist radicals and their predecessors, inspired by the Naxalite movement in West Bengal and Jharkhand, dominated parts of Sirjagnaj, Pabna, Bogura, Meherpur, Kushtia, Rajbari and Tangail.
Some of these groups started as political parties during the early 60s and late 70s, but infighting among them resulted in splinter groups, and they started to get involved in serious crimes like killing, kidnapping and extortion.
However, the extremist activities of these radicalised groups started to fade away in 1998 when the Sheikh Hasina-led administration offered them amnesty.
Taking advantage of the amnesty offer, more than 100 leaders and members of these fractured groups laid down their arms in a ceremony in Sirajganj the same year. Another batch of 596 leftist radicals surrendered before the police in 2019.
Pointing to history, Minister Asaduzzaman said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had personally assured him before the ceremony that the surrendering radicals seeking to return to civilian life would be offered all sorts of assistance, including financial.
“Our government is prepared to offer all kinds of support to people who want to return to their lives. Not only will we offer financial support to settle down, but we will also provide support to these individuals to find jobs,” he said.
‘RAB DOING EXCEPTIONAL WORK’
At the ceremony, the minister praised the elite law enforcement agency, saying it is doing exceptional work by allowing the surrendering leftist radicals to return to civilian lives.
“RAB has earned people’s trust through their work. That’s why these radicals have contacted the agency. They [RAB] are also working to eradicate the narcotics and militancy issues in the country.”
The minister, however, also issued a warning for those radicals who are still on the run, saying: “Those who believe law enforcement can’t touch them since they operate out of lairs in remote areas are living in a fool’s paradise.”