Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday called the sanction against some Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel “a very condemnable act”, saying the elite force has a great contribution to contain militancy and terrorism in the country.
“They (USA) protect the criminals and shelter them in their country and give sanction in our country without any crime. And this is their character, so what else I can say about them,” she said.
The premier said this while addressing a function as the chief guest marking the 18th founding anniversary of RAB, joining virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka, BSS reports.
The elite force organised the function at the Lt Col Azad Memorial Hall at its headquarters in city this morning.
Each of the 15 battalions of the RAB got connected to it virtually.
The prime minister also inaugurated battalion headquarters of RAB 2, 10, 13 and 14, RAB Forces Training School, RAB Heritage Museum having a “Mujib Corner” while laying the foundation stone of RAB-3 battalion headquarters, at the same function.
Sheikh Hasina said the USA gave shelter to the war criminals and self confessed convicted killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and provided them citizenship.
The prime minister said her government has appealed time and again to their Justice Department to send back the murderers, who killed women and children along with Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975.
Instead of sending them back, she said they have given shelters to them in their country.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken legal action against any law enforcement agency member, RAB or police if they are found involved in any criminal act.
But, this is very unfortunate that they, who sanctioned against some RAB personnel without any reason, do not take any legal action against their force if it does any crime, she added.
Referring to killing a child by shooting and a person by trampling under boots in the USA, she said if any member of law enforcing agencies commits crime in the name of maintaining law and order, they do not take any step.
“Bangladesh is only a place in the world where action is taken if any one commits crime,” she added.
The prime minister said she did not know whether they (USA) were hurt at the success of the RAB in containing militancy and terrorism that included the Holy Artisan Cafe attack.
She said the disgraceful matter is that some people of Bangladesh have been conducting propaganda against the country.
“They’re the criminals. They have either lost their jobs or left the country after committing crime,” she said.
The prime minister however called upon the RAB personnel to discharge their duties in accordance with the law.
Referring to hoarding of essentials ahead of the month of Ramadan by some unscrupulous black marketers, she asked the elite force to remain vigilant against any sorts of stockpiling despite the law enforcement agencies have been conducting drives to check it.
The prime minister instructed the RAB personnel to intensify the drives against illegal drugs despite they have success to this end in line with the government’s “zero tolerance” policy against it.
She asked the force to continue the drives until the menace is rooted out of the society.
Referring to influx of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and increasing trend of crimes there, she said they have planned to establish a full-fledged battalion of RAB in the district.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Director General (DG) of the RAB and Additional Inspector General of Police Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun spoke on the occasion.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Benazir Ahmed was present.
A video documentary on the activities of the RAB and its success in containing terrorism and militancy was also screened at the function.
With a view to fighting terrorism, the RAB was formed on March 26 in 2004 and it started operation on July 21 the same year.
The elite security force came to the limelight when it arrested Pichchi Hannan, one of the 23 most-wanted criminals, in August, 2004.
Sheikh Hasina dubbed peace as the prerequisite for the development, saying the RAB has been playing a significant role in maintaining law and order in the country and thus contributing to the nation’s advancement.
“The contribution of RAB to the development of the country and the nation is immense. We have been implementing each of the development schemes uninterruptedly due to peaceful situation,” she said.
The prime minister said maintaining law and order and peaceful situation is also the precondition of attracting investment in the country, referring to establishing 100 special economic zones across the country that requires huge foreign and local investment.
She thanked the RAB and other law enforcing agencies to maintain the law and order in the society.
The prime minister commended the RAB for their contribution to contain terrorism, militancy, drug abuse, piracy in the Sundarbans and extremism in the southern part of the country.
She also praised the RAB’s deradicalisation and rehabilitation initiative aimed at bringing the militants and terrorists to the normal life after changing their mindset.
The prime minister said her government has rehabilitated the pirates of the Sundarbans and extremists of the southern region after providing them with works upon their surrenders.
She went on saying that they are now living happy life with their family members.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has been working for further strengthening and modernising the RAB, adding they have undertaken a project to increase their ability of conducting drives in hard-to-reach areas.
She said RAB has already been made as a three-dimensional force with having capacity of conducting drives by road, air or naval way.
“We’re working to develop every force,” she added.
The prime minister highly lauded the RAB force as they stand beside the people in their hardship during the Coronavirus pandemic and scarified their lives for the noble cause of serving the people.
She prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the RAB men who died of Coronavirus and extended deep sympathy to the bereaved family members.
The premier called upon all to make collective efforts in building Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous nation and giving its people a beautiful and improved life as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.