DHAKA: Bangladesh police have detained over 1,700 people, including some members of an outlawed militant outfit, as part of a crackdown to halt the wave of brutal attacks on minorities and secular activists by Islamists, officials said today.
A total of 1,740 people were detained after the top police officials decided at a meeting on Thursday to launch an anti-militant drive.
On the first day of the week-long drive, around 1,600 people were detained across the country yesterday. At least 140 people were detained today from different districts in the wake of recent killings, 'The Daily Star' reported.
Of the total 140 detainees, 88 are from Rajshahi district, 35 from Satkhira and 17 from Natore.
Nine enlisted militants were among the 88 persons detained from Rajshahi, the report said.
Eight of them belong to the outlawed militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) while another belongs to Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), said Shariful Alam, assistant superintendent of police in Rajshahi.
Bangladesh has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on religious minorities and secular activists.
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The latest attack came just hours after police said they launched a nationwide anti-militancy drive, besides engaging elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh.
The security clampdown was launched a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised to intensify a nationwide anti-terror security clampdown.
In February, militants stabbed to death a Hindu priest at a temple and shot and wounded a devotee who went to his aid.
In April, a liberal professor was brutally hacked to death in Rajshahi city. In the same month, a Hindu tailor was hacked to death in his shop and Bangladesh's first gay magazine editor was brutally murdered along with a friend in his flat in Dhaka by Islamists.