Bangladesh is a combination of two Bengali words, which are Bangla and Desh, meaning the country where Bangla language is spoken. Bangladesh is previously known as East Pakistan. It is said by The World Culture Encyclopedia, that the Bangladesh region is prone to flooding during monsoon season, which is May through September. This makes the land very suitable for growing rice, according to The World Culture Encyclopedia.
The country has a population of 125 million people living in an area that is 55,813 square miles in Bangladesh, making it one of the most densely populated nations in the world. The Chittagong Hill Tracts are known to have large hardwood forests, therefore, the areas in the north and southwest are drier, have more hills, and are the areas where tea is grown. The people who live in this hilly and dry landscape have many smaller tribal groups, who have resisted the national government pressures from the Bangladeshis who have tried to move in and settle down within these tribal areas.
Bangladesh’s Soft Targets
Soft target means something or someone who is not protected or is vulnerable. These soft targets, as reported by Al Jazeera, are especially in danger of attack from the military or terrorist attacks inside Bangladesh. A look into these targets is needed to understand what they are.
- As of 2015, gay rights activists, minority religions, and nonreligious bloggers have been targeted. As reported by Al Jazeera, most of the attacks were said to have been done by transnational armed groups including ISIS, ISIL, and different groups who are affiliated with al-Quaeda.
- According to Al Jazeera, the local police in Bangladesh, have begun a nationwide crackdown, which so far has led to 3,000 arrests. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised to imprison every killer.
- In February of 2015, Avijit Roy, age 42, received several threats before he was hacked to death with meat cleavers in Dhaka. Roy met this fate because he ran a blog site called, Mukto-Mona (Free Mind), which focused on science, social issues and secularism.
- Also in February, Jogeshwar Roy, 55, a Hindu priest was stabbed to death while he was organizing prayers.
- In March of 2015, Washiqur Rahman Babu, 55, was killed with meat cleavers. He was targeted even though he wrote under a pen name, Kucchit Hashner Channa (Ugly Duckling), for writing anti-Islamic comments, however, these writings were not confirmed to be Babu’s.
- In May of 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das, 33, was attacked and killed by a masked gang with machetes. It was later discovered by police that he wrote about science and the evolution of the Soviet Union. He also wrote for Avijit Roy’s blog.
- In August of 2015, Niloy Chatterjee, 40, was a critic of religious extremes. His self-expression caused him to be hacked to death in his apartment. He had gone to the police and reported he was being followed, however, the police did nothing.
- In September of 2015, Tavella Cesare, 50, was shot three times and killed while he was jogging at night in Dhaka. The police reported his death appeared to have been planned.
- In October of 2015, Kunio Hoshi, 66, a Japanese national was killed by three men on a motorcycle, 300 km from Dhaka.
- Also in October, Faysal Arefin, 43, was the head of Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, which published books of secular nature, including one by Avijit Roy. Arefin was hacked to death inside his office.
- In April of 2016, Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was a law student in Dhaka. He was using social media to post comments promoting atheism. Police stated he was shot and killed because he had also supported a movement in 2013, which demanded capital punishment for those involved in war crimes in the war for independence in 1971. This war broke Bangladesh free from Pakistan.
Most of the soft target crimes in Bangladesh seem to be toward single individuals who have shown their defiance against whatever these murderous men feel are crimes. They are still violent crimes against innocent people. As reported in Fox News, Bangladesh is cracking down on these militant groups and have recently arrested 11,600 people filling their jailhouse.
Unfortunately, only two percent of those arrested in the Bangladesh crackdown are considered to be radicals. According to Fox News, none of those arrested are considered to be high-level operatives. Most of the people arrested are being charged with small theft crimes and small-time drug smuggling.
The many deaths that have happened in Bangladesh recently are the main focus of the Bangladesh police. Officials have pledged to refocus their security effort against the group suspected in the killings.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Aljazeera: Bangladesh’s soft targets
Fox News: Questions rise over Bangladesh jailing 11,600 in crackdown
Countries and their Cultures: Bangladesh
Image Courtesy of Mohammad Hasan’s Flickr Page Creative Commons License