Bangladesh Deradicalisation Programme: 9 militants surrender to return to normal life

The Daily Star, January 15, 2021

Nine militants, who had previously severed ties with their families and the society, have decided to return to normal lives, thanks to counselling they received under Rab supervision for between two and six months. They surrendered to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed yesterday.

As part of a new initiative, Rab deradicalised them and reintegrated them into the society.The nine people include engineer Shawon Muntaha Ibne Shawkat, 34, a young man from Sylhet, and his wife Nusrat Ali Juhi, 29, a doctor.They surrendered at a programme at the Azad Memorial Hall at Rab Headquarters in the capital.

The seven others are Abida Jannat Asma alias Tarad alias Ramisa, 18, and Abdur Rahman Sohel, 28, of Cumilla, Mohammad Hossain alias Hasan Gazi, 23, and Mohammad Saifullah, 37, of Chandpur, Abdullah Al Mamun, 26, and Saidur Rahman, 22, of Chuadanga, and Saiful Islam, 31, of Jhenaidah.

They were active members of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Neo JMB and Ansarullah Bangla Team.Abida Jannat Asma said, “I passed the SSC exams in 2018 and got married. After that I got involved in militancy with my husband. I was alone and took the wrong path.”

She went abroad with her husband to study and returned without informing her family. She then became a member of a militant group, she said. An initiative is being taken for her to complete her studies.

Asma’s mother Shahida Sultana said, “My daughter has come back to me today. We have loved Asma since she was born. We found out that Asma, who ran away and got married, became a militant… Being a mother of a militant is very difficult. I would request all parents to take care of their children.”

The Rab initiative titled Deradicalisation and Rehabilitation Programme aims to make misguided young people shun the paths of violence and extremism. Rab officials said different countries have similar programmes, adding that deradicalisation is possible until the extremists cross a certain line. Otherwise, legal action is inevitable.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, “Bangladesh doesn’t patronise militancy and we never said that we have eradicated militancy, but we say that we have been able to contain militancy.

“Many people in different countries have asked me how we tackle militancy. In reply, we said the people of the country do not support militancy. That’s why we have been able to control militancy.” Bangladesh is now becoming a role model in controlling militancy and chances have been given for the militants and extremists to return to normal life. “Besides, we have also taken steps for their rehabilitation.

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