Intelligence reports suggesting that militants are planning attacks in Dhaka city on Pohela Boishakh have prompted law enforcement agencies to beef up security and vigilance ahead of the festival.
Well-placed sources told the Dhaka Tribune that four militants arrested from the city’s Kallyanpur on March 21 told the police during interrogation about their plans for conducting mass violence in Dhaka, especially surrounding the Pohela Boishakh programmes on April 14.
Police are now maintaining extra caution as some associates of the detained suspects are still on the run.
A senior official of the Detective Branch, requesting not to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune that recent joint drives conducted with the Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit have led to the recovery of further details of the plans when three Ansarullah Bangla Team dens were busted.
Another DB official said militants were now getting more chances to plan such violence as they were getting shelter and financial support from political leaders.
Meanwhile, when asked for comments about the potential militant threat, Monirul Islam, additional commissioner of DMP, said some of the arrested militants had been planning to conduct subversive activities by dividing into small groups.
However, he assured that the police have already taken special steps to stop militants and drives were under way to arrest other suspects.
Additional security plans
As part of the beefed up security, a large number of plainclothes intelligence officials and the dog squad would be deployed around Pohela Boishakh events.
The DMP has also imposed a special schedule for holding programmes on Ramna Park, where a bomb blast killed eight people in 2001, and Suhrawardy Udyan, where a group of culprits sexually harassed women on last Pohela Boishakh.
This year, no visitor will be allowed to enter the park or the Udyan after 4pm while everyone must leave the places within 7pm.
A source in the DB said the DMP has held several meetings on Pohela Boishakh security and decided on assigning six entrance and four exit gates in Ramna Park, and three entrance and exit gates each at Suhrawardy Udyan.
However, all these gates would be used as exit gates after 4pm on the day. To ensure security and stop sexual harassment, a large number female police officials would be deployed in the area.
The decision for arranging additional security has been partly based on recent experiences of attacks on mass gatherings such as the ones on a Shia procession and different mosques across the country.
DMP Additional Commissioner Monirul, also the chief of CT unit, sought cooperation from the visitors in maintaining the time schedule.