To light from dark spiral of militancy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:24 AM, January 14, 2021

To light from dark spiral of militancy

Under a Rab deradicalisation initiative, 9 persons set to get back to normal life; a special ceremony today

The husband is an engineer and the wife a doctor.

The couple was living happily with two children until the dark cloud of militancy destroyed their lives. The couple became involved in militancy and uncertainty engulfed the whole family.

Family members of the couple then took steps to bring them back to normal life, communicating with Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) for support.

The elite force showed interest and shed light on their dark path before it was too late.

As a part of Rab's new initiative, the couple got a chance to return to normal life under the institutional de-radicalisation process.

Nine people, including the couple, were brought back to normal life under the process. All nine have received counselling for between two and six months under Rab's supervision.

They will be able to see their family members again after a formal "surrender programme", schedule to be held at the Azad Memorial Hall at Rab Headquarters today.

Of the nine are members of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Neo JMB and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).

Col Tofail Mostafa Sarwar, additional director general (operation) of Rab, confirmed the development and the formal surrender programme.

Prominent citizens, including academics, Islamic scholars and cultural personalities will take part in the ceremony under the slogan "Return to New Horizons", said the official.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed would be present at the programme, according to Rab.

Rab officials said that the term de-radicalisation is frequently used as a soft approach to controlling and eliminating militancy or extremism.

Militancy or extremism cannot be stopped by operations alone because it is an ideological fight. Through brainwashing, the targeted person is lured to the dark path of extremism, they said.

Therefore, along with the campaign, the so-called ideological issue of extremism has to be tackled through de-radicalisation, they added.

Rab officials said they have taken the initiative of a de-radicalisation unit much like different countries around the world.

This specialised unit is working to bring people involved in extremism back to normal life and under that process nine people have received counselling.

As there is a case against one of the nine, the person will have to face legal process after the surrender programme.

Earlier, seven militants were brought back to normal life under a pilot project, Rab said. Of the seven, one was at an extreme stage of militancy but is now leading a normal life.

That person will deliver a speech at the programme today.

Relevant sources said the possibility of de-radicalisation is kept till extremists cross a certain limit. If that limit is exceeded, legal action is inevitable.

There are usually five stages leading to the peak of extremism, culminating in violent activities. Initially, the target is sympathetic to extremism. In the second stage, he or she becomes a supporter of extremism.

In the third phase, the person takes part in extremist activities and in the fourth, they become extremists. In the final stage, they carry out violent extremist activities.

According to Rab, arrangements have also been made to repatriate militants who are willing to surrender. For this, everyone is being helped to return to the right profession for them.

One young woman who was about to surrender went abroad to study. But her family did not know that she returned to the country as part of a militant group. Now, after returning to normal life, an initiative is being taken for her to finish her studies. In this manner, some are being given cows for farming, while others are given power trailer machines.

Col Sarwar said, "We have considered what can be done other than handing over those involved in extremism to the law. It is difficult to solve this problem by knocking them down only through campaigns."

In addition to operational activities, Rab has started de-radicalisation activities to eradicate militancy, he said. "That is why we have involved people from different walks of life."

As a result of the concerted efforts of all, it will be possible to get rid of the so-called ideology of militancy, said the Rab ADG.

 

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