Bangladesh is planning to engage nearly 60 lakh irregular para-police 'Ansar' men in the anti-militancy campaign as part of an intensified vigil on right-wing Islamic outfits.
"On the Prime Minister's directive, a process is now underway to make rules specifying the duties and jurisdictions of Ansar and VDP (Village Defence Party)," a local newspapers on Friday quoted home minister Sahara Khatun as saying.
She said that currently there were 59.42 lakh Ansar VDP members across the country who would now join the police and security forces in combating militancy and maintain law and order.
The ministers' comments came as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government revamped an anti-militant campaign constituting a high-powered national committee to coordinate intelligence activities particularly against the militancy.
Security officials earlier said some militant groups like Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkatul Jihad (HuJI) were trying to regroup in different names in view of the massive anti-militant campaign as the government so far banned four of the outfits - JMB, HuJI, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and Shahadat-e al Hikma.
Ansar is a paramilitary organisation of village guards in Bangladesh. Mostly a voluntary force, it recruits mainly from poor farmers and artisans.