Christian leaders including a Catholic bishop have criticized and cast doubt over the effectiveness of an ongoing anti-militancy drive that has seen thousands of arrests in Bangladesh over the past three days.
Police arrested more than 8,500 suspected terrorists in the weeklong crackdown that began June 11.
More than 2,000 leaders and activists from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have also been arrested, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior figure in the party told reporters in Dhaka on June 13.
The crackdown follows a series of targeted killings including the murders of the wife of a top anti-terror police officer, a Catholic grocer, a Hindu priest and a monastery worker last week.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, chairman of the Bangladesh Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission said the government may have an ulterior motive for the crackdown.
“The government might have a different agenda including weakening opposition parties further because this crackdown is not an effective way to eradicate militancy,” Bishop Rozario told ucanews.com.
Instead of mass arrests, the government needs to use intelligence agencies more effectively to flush out militancy, and make effective efforts to prevent and investigate attacks on minority communities, he said.
“Police can make quick arrests in sensational cases, but fail to do so in cases of militancy or attacks on minorities, which is surprising,” Bishop Rozario said.
The government should check why detectives are failing and ensure that they do their duty more effectively,” he added.