103 dead, 9,000 arrested in Bangladesh anti-drugs campaign

Dhaka, May 29 : The number of people killed in the last two weeks during anti-drug operations in Bangladesh climbed to over 103 on Tuesday, after another 10 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, police said.

The number of people arrested rose to 9,000. The 10 deaths occurred in seven districts after the police responded to firing by drug-traffickers or in clashes between the two, police officials told Efe news.

On May 3, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the anti-drug campaign, that was initially carried out by the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite police force. The regular police later joined the operations.

Deaths during the raids began to occur only two weeks ago, according to the security forces, who avoided providing the exact number of casualties.

Bangladeshi police spokesperson Soheli Ferdous said that 9,020 people had been arrested in the operation so far, and the police seized 1.7 million methamphetamine tablets and 16,000 bottles of Phensedyl, among other things.

Human rights activists in Bangladesh called the anti-drug campaign “illegal” and compared it to the aggressive drugs crackdown being carried out by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Nasiruddin Elan, Director of the human rights organisation, Odhikar, told Efe on Tuesday that “no problem can be solved with extra-judicial killing” of low-level traffickers who were easily replaceable and called for a reform of the criminal justice system to solve the issue.
(IANS)

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