Troops in Bangladesh have returned to their barracks after a two and one half-month crackdown on crime that drew criticism at home and abroad.
A government spokesman said the troops would be kept on alert to aid the civil administration if needed.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia launched the drive in mid-October amid charges that her governmen had failed to keep promises to fight a crime wave.
The campaign won praise for curbing crime, but the opposition was angered after some of its members were arrested. Nearly 40 people died in custody during the anti-crime drive.
A fresh row has begun after the government promulgated an indemnity ordinance to protect the joint operation since the army deployment on October 16 , 2002. The ordinance bans people from taking any recourse to law regarding the alleged killings , injuries and damages done during the Joint Forces Action. There has been widespread criticism against the ordinance by the lawyers , intellectuals and prominent citizens.
[ For details click on 1600 UTC]