Foreigners need permission to visit 'restricted areas'
will not be allowed to visit 'restricted areas' like the Chittagong Hill Tracts, without the permission
Sunday July 18 2010 11:07:52 AM BDT
The government is drawing up guidelines for foreign diplomats, nationals and the representatives of different international organisations based in Bangladesh to step up their security, officials said yesterday.(The Independent BD )
The home ministry prepared the draft guidelines at a meeting on Thursday with the joint secretary (political) in the chair.
Top officers of different law and intelligence agencies, including the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), representatives of the foreign ministry, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police and concerned officials of the home ministry were present at the meeting.
Foreign diplomats, nationals and the representatives of different international organisations who are working in Dhaka will not be allowed to visit 'restricted areas' like the Chittagong Hill Tracts, without the permission of the authorities concerned, the draft of the guidelines says.
The government is preparing the guidelines for the foreigners at a time when the leaders and activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and different militant organisations were trying to foil the trial process of the war criminals, the law enforcement agencies reported. Already the law enforcement agencies have arrested a number of leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami on charges of crimes against humanity during the Independence war in 1971.
Md Siddique Ullah Bhuiyan, deputy secretary (political) of the home ministry, who attended the meeting, told The Independent that they were preparing the guidelines to ensure the security of foreign diplomats in coordination with the foreign ministry.
"We have already asked the members of the law enforcement agencies to strengthen security in the diplomatic enclaves of Gulshan and Baridhara areas in the capital to avoid any untoward incident," he said.
According to the proposed guidelines, the members of different foreign missions in Dhaka, foreign nationals and the representatives of international organisations should inform the authorities concerned 15 days before undertaking holiday visit out of Dhaka, excluding the 'restricted areas'.
The security services often complained that most of the foreigners were travelling out of Dhaka on holiday visit at short notices, leaving the law enforcement agencies little time to ensure security measures, the meeting sources said.
For ensuring security in the diplomatic zone, the home ministry will ask the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) to evict the tea stalls and hawkers on the pavements in the area.
According to the sources, the law enforcement agencies also suggested to the authorities concerned to introduce identity cards for all slum dwellers living in the Gulshan area as a precautionary measure in view of possible subversive activities by terrorist groups or militant organisations.
Police sources said that the incidents of mugging and snatching in the diplomatic zone, especially in the lakeside areas in morning and evening were on the rise. The criminals often use the slums to carry on their clandestine activities.
Currently some 938 members of the law enforcement agencies were deployed in the diplomatic zone to ensure security.
The Independent BD