Terrorism cannot be controlled by killing alleged militants in crossfire as it shows the weakness and failure of law enforcement agencies, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon told parliament yesterday.
“Militants are being killed every day in crossfire. But crossfire is not the solution to the militancy problem. Rather, killing in crossfire shows the failure and weakness of law enforcement agencies,” he said, participating on the general discussion on the proposed budget.
His comments came when two militant suspects -- Golam Faizullah Fahim and Sharif -- have been killed in recent “crossfire” sparking widespread criticism by right activists and social media users as the suspects might have had some vital information about the recent secret killings.
With Sharif (Mukul Rana) and Faizullah, at least 20, including seven militant suspects, were killed in “shootouts” since police launched a special crackdown against militants after the murder of a superintendent of police's wife in Chittagong.
Menon, a top leader of ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance, said the militant groups have been carrying out the killings in the country for several months.
They are killing priests, bloggers, monks, teachers and other minority members, he added.
The attacks of militants were not only against a specific community but also against the people of Bangladesh, he said, adding that the militants were trying to create a communal state through these attacks.
Menon claimed that there was no IS in the country, but there might be some of its followers.
Strongly criticising the Election Commission, he alleged that the EC destroyed the election system by holding the recent union parishad elections that were marred by deadly clashes and irregularities.
“Democracy will be in real danger if we cannot re-establish the election system,” Menon said, stressing the need for reforming the EC to make this happen.
The leftist leader also proposed that the EC should hold dialogue with all political parties to make the polls free from black money and muscle power.
On the construction of the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the minister said the government was discussing with Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to get funds to build the terminal, which is expected to be completed by 2019.
"Once the third terminal is built, about 24 million passengers will be able to use it a year," the minister said.
About the proposed allocation for the tourism sector, he said Tk 540 crore has been proposed for the sector in fiscal 2016-17, which is not enough to develop the sector.
Tourism will be the second largest foreign exchange earning sector after the RMG in the days to come, said Menon, adding that river communications will be established with the neighbouring countries next year to encourage tourism.