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Bangladesh Home Ministry imposes travel permit restrictions to prevent militants from returning

Bangladesh Home Ministry imposes travel permit restrictions to prevent militants from returning

Dhaka, May 22 ( UNI) The Home Ministry of Bangladesh is apprehending that militants who went to Syria and Iraq for fighting for international militant outfit may enter into the country. Hence, the ministry directed Bangladesh embassies abroad not to issue travel permit to anyone without the ministry’s consent.

The home ministry sources said, the decision was taken at a meeting, attended by higher police officials, at the ministry recently.

The meeting asked the Foreign Ministry to notify the matter to all the foreign missions abroad.

To this effect, a letter issued from the home ministry’s protection section of immigration service, was sent to the foreign ministry on May 16.

The letter mentioned that security risk increased due to militants’ activities in the international arena in recent times.

Under the circumstances, the country’s internal security may be at risk if our foreign missions abroad issue travel permit without checking and verifying nationality and past history of those seeking the travel permit.

There is a possibility of militants and unwanted persons entering into the country keeping their identities secret. Judging the situation, the home ministry requested the foreign ministry to ask the embassies abroad not to issue travel permit without the home ministry’s prior approval.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told this correspondent that red alert has been issued at the airports so that militants returning from battlefield cannot come to Bangladesh. All the information including photographs of militants holding Bangladeshi passports has been given to airport authorities.

The minister said, the USA told us that militants, who are Bangladeshi-born but US citizens, are also trying to enter into Bangladesh. The Bangladesh authorities have no information about them, he said.

As such militants have no passports, they can try to enter into Bangladesh by taking travel permit from embassy. Hence, it has been decided to verify identities of those who are eager to enter into the country. Anyone can enter into the country with travel permit if they get the ministry’s permission.

When asked whether expatriate Bangladeshi workers, who have lost their passports, would face any problem due to such decision, the minister said, quick approval would be given through e-mail or fax in such a situation.

Sources at law enforcing agencies said, many Bangladeshis being inspired by international militant outfit IS went to Iraq and Syria for taking part in war there. The Bangladesh authorities have no information regarding their whereabouts and condition.

Citing a list, prepared by a western country, law enforcing agencies here said that over 40 Bangladeshis went to Syria.

Besides, many Bangladeshi-born foreigners also went to Syria.

Officials of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka City police think that militants returning from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon may enter into Bangladesh. So, the identities of those returning from the countries should be ensured.

Monirul Islam, chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime of police, said militants have been blacklisted at different parts of the world. "So, if they want they would try to enter into any country with travel permit," he said.

Militants under the guise of undocumented workers may apply for travel permit. "The home ministry has decided to verify the identities so that no militants disguised as legal or illegal workers can enter into the country with travel pass," he added.

UNI MAZ RHK2204

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