Over 100 killed in Bangladesh “anti-drug” crackdown
2 June 2018
Over 100 people have been killed and around 12,000 arrested so far in an “anti-drug” crackdown launched last month by the Bangladesh government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The operation has been compared with the murderous so-called anti-drug war conducted by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte from mid-2016 to early 2017.
Under the pretext of “saving the country from the drug menace,” hundreds of police officers and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel have been mobilised against residents in slum areas of the capital Dhaka and other major cities. The RAB is notorious for brutality and has been widely condemned by human rights groups.
The real purpose of these police-state style operations is to strengthen the state apparatus against growing anti-government opposition by workers, youth and other oppressed layers, in preparation for mass social struggles against the Bangladesh capitalist elite.
Virtually all those killed in the crackdown were supposedly shot during “gunfights,” “crossfire” or “shootouts” with law enforcers. Not a single police or state security officer has been killed in the military-style operations.
On May 26, heavily-armed RAB personnel raided the poverty-stricken Stranded Pakistanis Relief Camp, popularly known as the Geneva Camp, in Dhaka’s Mohammadpu area. Over 150 people were arrested. More than 40,000 Urdu-speaking people are housed in miserable conditions in the settlement, with an average of 90 people forced to share a single toilet.
Later that night, 52 people were arrested during raids on Dhaka’s Kamlapur and Korail slums. Police claimed to have recovered marijuana, methamphetamine tablets and locally-made liquor.