July 26, 2016 was a day to turn around with self-confidence. A new example was set by thwarting the recurrence of terror attack when the memory of Holey Artisan was still haunting the nation. Members of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police showed best of professionalism and braved life risk in successfully conducting an anti-terror drive thereby annihilating the Kallyanpur militants. It helped restore public confidence and get people back to daily routine. Bangladesh’s success in curbing militancy got recognized globally.
Assistant Commissioner Md Rabiul Islam of the Detective Branch and the Officer-in-Charge of the city’s Banani Police Station, Md Salah Uddin Khan, lost their lives in fight against the terror that let loose at Holey Artisan bakery on July 1, 2016. Constables Zahirul and Ansarul set a rare example of patriotism and call of duty by sacrificing their lives to save thousands of people who gathered for Eid-ul-Fitr congregation at Sholakia on July 7, 2016. We are reenergized with all these heroics and sacrifices by our fellow policemen. Majority of the identified militants have been destroyed through drives at militants’ dens under the leadership of newly formed Counter Terrorism Unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Tipped off police members from DMP Mirpur Division started checking and block raids in the vicinity of Kallyanpur Girls High School area from 11:30 pm on July 25 last year. After raiding several messes there, the force reached to No. 53 Taj Manjil on Road No. 5. Police then started conducting raid in that building, locally known as ‘Jahaz Building’. In the midst of that raid, a number of militants came out of their fifth floor den chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ slogan and fired five rounds of bullet and hand bombs at police. Police then fired back in retaliation.
At one stage, two militants jumped on the roof of a neighbouring tin-shed house and threw bombs targeting policemen. A militant got injured by police firing and he was arrested. He was rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. From the primary statements made by the injured militant, law enforcers got a better understanding on the whereabouts, capacity and motive of the other militants. By that time additional forces were deployed on Road 5 and the building in question was fully encircled by police force. The higher police officials also rushed there in quick time. By half past midnight that road was made off-limit for human and traffic movement. Locals were advised to stay indoors.
By encircling the whole neighbourhood with extra striking force it was made sure that no militant got a chance to escape. After analyzing the information gathered on those militants, specialized SWAT Unit was called in for conducting the anti-terror operation. On completion of all precautions – area raids, strategic presence of law enforcers on different buildings in the vicinity, assessment of militants’ hideout, capacity, and security risk assessment of local community as well as of the members of the law enforcing agencies – the SWAT Unit members began the operation at 5:51 in the morning of July 26. The operation was codenamed as ‘Operation Storm-26.’ Keeping the security of the locals and other inhabitants of the Taj Manjil into full consideration, SWAT completed the hour-long operation by 6:51 am with utmost cautiousness and bravery. Nine militants got killed during the Operation Storm-26. All of them were in the age range of 20 to 25. Seven identity cards were recovered from there after the operation was over. The militants holed up there to unleash subversive activities in the country. All of the nine had trade mark black attires like the militants of Gulshan attack. The Kallyanpur militants belonged to the Gulshan-Solakia attacker group. Forces from the Rapid Action Battalion and Fire Service also took part in the Operation Storm-26. The whole Kallyanpur neighbourhood sighed relief after that successful anti-terror operation.
In fact, the Operation Storm-26 now stands as a milestone in defusing the general sense of fear and anxiety that had been prevailing after the July 1, 2016 Holey Artisan terror attack. Police showed best of professionalism, skill and timeliness in striking hard in Kallyanpur operation destroying all nine militants there. We could prevent a probable big terror attack. Pains still being suffered from the splinter wounds by many of the law enforcing agencies’ members remind us all time and again about the terror that let loose in Gulshan. And Operation Storm-26 was one great example of how the police could turn grief into bravery and glory and show utmost patience, professionalism by thwarting a planned terror attack. Police have been relentless in their efforts to engage general people against militancy by properly discharging the responsibilities like beat policing, community engagements and collecting of tenants information forms etc. Kallyanpur operation was an epitome of SWAT’s acumen, bravery and professional excellence.
In containing terrorism and militancy the prime minister has unequivocally declared a policy of ‘zero tolerance to terrorism.’ Responding to her call a national unity has been forged against militancy. We achieved praiseworthy success in our anti-terror drives thanks to the political commitment of the government, national unity and professionalism and coordinated efforts of police and detective agencies. Today militants’ network has got weakened in post-Holey Artisan successive anti-terror drives conducted in Solakia, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Jhenidah, Kushtia, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Comilla and Sitakundu. Over 50 militants including New JMB chief Tamim Chowdhury got killed in 19 operations till date by the Counter Terrorism Unit. Many other militants were arrested. Many weapons, bombs, suicide vests, bomb-making materials were seized. This is definitely not a success of police only – rather, it’s a success of all peace-loving people of this country under the leadership of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh is a role model in the world today in fighting militancy. The Counter Terrorism Unit and SWAT of police are being praised for their valiant role at home and abroad. A recent US Department of State publication – “Country Report on Terrorism-2016” – praised Bangladesh’s role in curbing militancy. Different countries and international organizations are now keeping in touch with Bangladesh Police to gain from our experience and success in this field.
Each and every member of Bangladesh Police under the direct guidance and command of the Home Minister and Inspector General Police are ready to sacrifice life in uprooting militancy from the soil of Bangladesh. And we strongly believe that terrorism and militancy can be uprooted from Bangladesh soil with the spontaneous support and involvement of general people of our country.
– Krishna Pada Roy, BPM, PPM (Bar), Joint Commissioner (Crime), Dhaka Metropolitan Police