Red alert at jails, security beefed up
The government put all 67 jails in the country on red alert, and asked law enforcing and intelligence agencies to heighten security as part of preventive measures against any attempt of attack on the jails, or any other subversive activity in the country.
The government made the move on Monday in the context of the ongoing appeal hearing of Bangabandhu murder case convicts in the Supreme Court, and some fresh arrests of some of their family members.
The authorities are apprehending, as the case proceedings are at their final stage, the convicts in the case and their sympathisers might put their maximum efforts to foil the hearing process, or attempt to break into the jails to free the convicts, or try to carry out some other serious subversive acts to destabilise the government and the country.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Director General Hassan Mahmood Khandker, and the chiefs of intelligence agencies visited Dhaka Central Jail on Thursday night.
Jail sources said condemned convicts Lt Col (retd) Syed Faruqoor Rahman, Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, Maj (retd) Bazlul Huda, Lt Col (retd) Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, and Lt Col Mahiuddin Ahmed Khan are currently jailed in Dhaka Central jail.
State Minister for Home Shamsul Huq Tuku yesterday said they suspect that to foil the trial process of Bangabandhu murder case, criminals might attempt to disrupt the country's law and order.
"Security measures have been beefed up so they could not be successful in disrupting law and order," the state minister said while talking to reporters.
Sources said along with special vigilance, additional forces were deployed in all sensitive zones and establishments including airports, the Supreme Court, diplomatic zones, railway stations, bus and lunch terminals, important shopping malls, and other markets.
According to the sources, law enforcing and intelligence agencies as well as the government took the preventive measures on apprehension of attempts of subversive acts by criminals, if the death sentences of the convicts in the case are upheld by the Supreme Court.
Sources said Rab, police, and intelligence agencies also strengthened security measures for all foreign missions, diplomatic zones, and diplomats.
"Along with the red alert in all jails, additional forces from Rab and police have been deployed, and intelligence agencies also heightened their vigilance," Inspector General of Prisons (IG-Prisons) Brig Gen Dr Ashraful Islam Khan told The Daily Star.
When asked, the IG-Prisons admitted that the home secretary, IGP, Rab DG, and other senior officials had visited Dhaka Central Jail, but declined to talk about the purpose of the visit.
The sources however said the government high officials held a meeting in Dhaka Central Jail, as the five condemned convicts in Bangabandhu murder case have been jailed there.
The officials directed the jail authorities to turn on all close circuit televisions, and to keep special watch on the convicts in the case.
Towhidul Islam, superintendent of Dhaka Central Jail, said apart from the intelligence vigilance and measures by Dhaka Metropolitan Police, 24 personnel from Rab, and 25 others from Armed Police Battalion were deployed around the jail.
Talking to The Daily Star, the Rab DG admitted that he had visited Dhaka Central Jail and said, "We have taken all necessary measures for dealing with any realisation of the apprehensions."
Asked whether they have any specific information about possible subversive activities or real threats of that nature, the Rab DG said, "We are aware of the existing situation in the country, and are prepared with all measures to deal with any threat."