Bangladesh has ordered all educational institutions to report absent students to the government in an effort to find the absentee students who carried out recent terror attacks in Dhaka.
Since reports have stated that some militants are students that have run away from home to join the Islamic extremism effort, the government has asked schools to give the Upazila education officers lists of students who have been absent for more than ten days in a row. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also asked parents to inform the police of any missing relatives.
According to the Press Trust of India, Hasina said:
Terrorism will never be tolerated in Bangladesh. The government will do everything to establish peace.
She also promised to use modern technology to help in the effort, and stated:
We will be rigorous. We must uproot militancy and terrorism from Bangladesh.
The decision was made at a meeting of education ministry officials at the Secretariat chaired by Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, reports the Times of India.
Most of the attacks in Bangladesh have targeted secular activists or religious minorities.
On the night of July 1st, five militants killed 22 people (one was Indian, and seven were Japanese) at an upscale Gulshan cafe. Relatives of suspects identified in photos said that had have been missing or have not contacted their families for several months. Another attacker, who targeted a Sholakia Eid gathering and then was killed in a firefight, had been missing since March. Out of these six young people, four were students of top English medium schools in Dhaka. Two were students of North South University, and another was a student of BRAC University.
After the cafe attack, parents of ten more missing youths came forward asking police for help in finding them, according to the Hindustan Times.
The government also ordered an Islamic television station, Peace TV, to cease broadcasting after several suspected extremists were said to be fans of the channel, news that came from Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu. The station is run by an Indian man, Zakir Naik, who used to be a doctor and then became a religious leader. He also founded and leads the Islamic Research Foundation based in Mumbai.
Other television channels will be broadcasting photos of missing students in an effort to find them if they have joined terrorist groups, as well as airing advertisements to deter extremism.
According to the Japan Times, the US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal flew to Dhaka in response to these announcements to discuss security with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali and to offer expertise from the US in building up Bangladesh’s efforts to counter terrorism. She said:
We will continue our assistance in combating the global threat of terrorism that both our countries confront.