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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 13:18 GMT
Bangladesh law and order promise
Bangladeshi Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury
Chowdhury says the government is sincere about law and order
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By Alastair Lawson
BBC correspondent in Dhaka
Bangladesh's Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury has conceded that his government has not improved the country's law and order situation as speedily as he would have hoped.

But he told the BBC more police would soon be recruited and that the government would spare no one, including its own supporters, from punishment if they were found to have broken the law.

The failure to eradicate spiralling violent crime is something of an embarrassment for the Bangladeshi Government, which came to power last year promising to improve law and order.

Mr Chowdhury said that it was also embarrassing that supporters of his party, the BNP, attacked a court in the southern city of Chittagong over the weekend, and forced the presiding judge to flee for his life.

He said that every effort would be made to catch the offenders.


Mr Chowdhury said that improving law and order was still one of the government's top priorities.

Bangladeshi police
Five thousand more police are promised

He said that it was horrified by outbreaks of mob violence in Dhaka and other cities in which suspected muggers have been beaten to death on the streets by angry crowds.

The home minister said that at least 5,000 more police officers would be recruited to combat lawlessness.

"This government is very sincere to bring the law and order situation at a level of tolerance," Mr Chowdhury said.

"The situation is better than before, there is no doubt about it, but the way we thought that we'll improve the law and order situation, we could not do it at this rate, or as rapidly."

Mr Chowdhury said that while the government was doing its utmost to curb the excesses of its supporters, the opposition Awami League was not, and was actively encouraging its followers to flout the law.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh protest against acid attacks
04 Mar 02 | South Asia
Bank robbers strike terror in Dhaka
16 Feb 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh cracks down on crime
10 Dec 01 | South Asia
Dhaka lynchings spread alarm
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