At least two more people have died overnight in security forces’ anti-drug campaign amid criticism from rights groups and rival political parties.
The crackdown rolled into the 12th day since the prime minister announced a war on drug.
Law-enforcement agencies claimed the suspects engaged in ‘gun battles’ in two districts from Wednesday night to Thursday morning.
One bullet-ridden body was recovered from Madaripur and Jashore each, according to police. In Feni, RAB arrested a man for possessing 7,000 yaba pills with estimated street value of Tk 3.7 million.
The security forces have maintained that the suspects were involved in drug trafficking and resisted arrest leading to gun battles that left them dead.
Thousands of people have also been arrested in raids across the country since May 18.
But human rights groups continued to demand separate investigations into the deaths during the anti-drug operations, calling these ‘extrajudicial killings’.
The BNP urged the government to refrain from “extrajudicial killings” and feared the ruling Awami League may use the crackdown to suppress dissent.
However, on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina renewed her pledge to toughen the anti-drug campaign despite growing criticism. She also defended the security forces for the so-called gunfights during anti-narcotics raids.
US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and expressed concern over the deaths in ‘gunfights’ on Wednesday.