Bangladesh will allow police to monitor suspicious telephone calls as part of a crackdown on Islamist militancy and suicide bombers, officials said Monday, reports Reuters.
President Iajuddin Ahmed signed an ordinance allowing the move on Sunday, said Mokhlesur Rahman Chowdhury, press secretary to the President. It takes effect immediately.
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar earlier said the government was determined to crush the Islamist network, which they largely maintained with cell-phones.
"We know Islamist leaders use 20 to 30 different temporary cellphone numbers to guide the bombers...something we are going to crush soon," the minister told reporters last week.
In Bangladesh, more then eight million people use cellphones provided by five operators, while nearly another one million people use fixed-line phones managed by state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board.
An ordinance usually remains in force for six months until approved by parliament. An ordinance was used this time because parliament is not in session.
The country is reeling from a series of attacks by suspected Islamist suicide bombers that have killed nearly 30 people and wounded more than 150 since Aug. 17.
The victims have included judges, lawyers, police, journalists and activists.
BDNEWS adds: The phone calls can only be tapped after taking permission of the chief executive of the home ministry. With this ordinance, criminals will be allowed to produce before the court through the evidence from phone tapping.