Extremist groups' rivalry led to 285 killings in Bangladesh

Extremist groups' rivalry led to 285 killings in Bangladesh

Retributive killings are carried out against group rivals and suspected police informers for which "the dons call the shots from India", The Daily Star newspaper claimed in a detailed report from Kushtia, a border town.
Bangladesh media has been reporting on the government's operations against 'outlaws' - as the Left extremists are called - amid efforts by the West Bengal government to fight similar groups, clubbed together as 'Naxalites', a name they acquire from Naxalbari village from where the movement was launched four decades ago.

The newspaper said the network of different outlawed outfits in 10 southwestern districts of Bangladesh, especially in Kushtia, Jhenidah, Chuadanga and Meherpur, is very strong. Official sources say their men have infiltrated every place - from remote villages to government offices and from roadside restaurants to police stations.

At least 285 people were killed in the 10 southwest districts this year, most of them at the hands of rival groups. The slide in law and order prompted the government to crack down on them Aug 22 and since then 62 were killed in 'shootouts'. The armed cadres of these outlawed groups have long been engaged in murder, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion and abduction.

This is carried out in connivance with leaders of "mainstream parties" - the ruling Awami league, the main opposition Bangladesh nationalist Party and a left-leaning faction of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), the report says.
The leaders of these parties deny any involvement, but admit being "under pressure" from the Left groups. Authorities have, however, discovered a 'nexus' between the major parties and the Left groups in business deals and drug trafficking, the newspaper said.
Dhaka media carried reports of the arrest last Monday of Taslima Khan Ankhi, general secretary of a faction of Kushtia town Mahila Awami League, in connection with transporting ammunition and firearms, including an AK-47 rifle. The ruling party suspended her from its primary membership. She has "also been a patron of an underground armed group Gono Mukti Fouz (GMF)", The Daily Star said.

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