Security beefed up across country to prevent sabotage before polls
As a measure to prevent sabotage activities ahead of the national election, law enforcers have been instructed to beef up security measures across the country.
The home ministry and the Police Headquarters (PHQ) have been instructed to increase security, especially on railway tracks and all Key-Point Installations (important establishments), after arsonists set fire to carriages of Mohanganj Express on Tuesday that killed four people.
Additional deployment has already been made in Dhaka Metro Rail (MRT) and Bangladesh Railway tracks, while steps have been taken to deploy around 13,000 Ansar members at KPI, bus, and train stations across the country.
Anwar Hossain, deputy inspector general (operations) of PHQ, said, "We have held a special meeting with the railway police and instructed them to increase vigilance after train carriages were set on fire on Tuesday."
They (saboteurs) are attacking the railway in two ways -- either damaging tracks or setting fire to carriages in the guise of passengers, he said.
Sources in the police said instructions have been given to discourage policemen from taking leave from tomorrow (December 23) till the election. They were asked to remain on duty from their designated workplaces, they said.
Regarding the Ansar deployment, Maj Gen AKM Aminul Haque, director general of Bangladesh Ansar & VDP, said, "We have received approval from the home ministry to deploy 13,000 Ansar members."
Sources in the railway said the Ansar forces will coordinate with the Railway Nirapatta Bahini (RNB) and district administration.
Firoz Khan, assistant commandant of RNB, said they have already increased vigilance and marked out the vulnerable points and gaps where security deployment is needed. "We will deploy the Ansar members in those gaps," he added.
Md Humayun Kabir, secretary of the railway ministry, told The Daily Star that the ministry has allocated Tk 9 crore for ensuring the security of the railway for the next two months.
"The fund will be expended in phases whenever it's required," he added.
Meanwhile, additional police forces were deployed at the MRT stations in Dhaka yesterday.
Confirming the development, Md Saiful Islam, deputy inspector general of MRT, said, "We have beefed up security measures and increased intelligence vigilance after recent railway fire incidents."
Officials said the MRT police wing will provide security inside the stations, while the Dhaka Metropolitan Police will do so outside.
In this regard, Kh Mahid Uddin, additional commissioner of DMP, said there is no specific threat for MRT but there will be a handle detector for checking.
Mahid suggested the MRT authorities install luggage scanners and an archway.
Talking with The Daily Star, police officials working in three districts also said they have taken all-out measures to ensure a violence-free election.
"The district police went on alert during the ongoing campaigning as clashes often took place between the influential independent candidates and ruling party ones," said a high official of Barishal range police.
DIG Anwar Hossain said police will take action against every wrongdoer, irrespective of their identities.
Meanwhile, Rab-3 yesterday deployed a dog squad at the Kamalapur Railway Station as a part of stepping up security measures.
Lt Col Arif Mohiuddin Ahmed, commanding officer of Rab-3, said, "Besides, before leaving the station, every train will be scanned with a metal detector. Rab will ensure round-the-clock intelligence surveillance to prevent any sabotage activities."