In a significant stride toward peace and security, 315 extremists from seven northern districts laid down their arms and pledged to return to a normal life in Ullapara, Sirajganj, on Sunday.
They surrendered 216 firearms to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at a ceremony organized by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
Director General of RAB M Khurshid Hossain presided over the ceremony. Home Ministry-related parliamentary standing committee president Benazir Ahmed, local lawmaker Tanvir Imam, Home Ministry's senior secretary of public security department Aminul Islam Khan, Inspector General of Police Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, Rajshahi Range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Baten, RAB-12 Commander Additional DIG Maruf Hossain, Sirajganj Deputy Commissioner Mir Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman spoke on the occasion.
The Home Minister applauded RAB's efforts in combating terrorism, citing the success of the pilot project 'Uday Pathe', which created employment opportunities for extremist families. He recalled the districts' history as extremist strongholds, noting daily acts of extortion, murder, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.
The minister referred to similar surrender events in the past, including the 1998 surrender of extremist party members in Kamarkhand, Sirajganj, and the 2019 surrender of 596 extremist members in Pabna.
He assured the extremists that cases against them would be reviewed and rehabilitation arrangements would be made. He added that those who surrendered would receive government training.
"I have lost my way and remained hidden from the public eye for so long," admitted Raju Ahmed, a surrendered extremist party leader from Sirajganj.
The return of these extremists to a peaceful, productive life marks a significant step in curbing violence and promoting societal harmony, highlighting the success of initiatives aimed at integrating these individuals back into the community.