Bangladesh Needs A Social Movement Against Radicalism – Analysis
By Swadesh Roy*
How the people of Bangladesh will live now is a big question. Will they have to live with terrorism or will they overcome it? Today, a great part of the world is living under the shadow of terrorism. In fact, even the president of France said to his people that they have to learn to live with the terrorism. Similarly, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh said to the people of her country that they have to be alert through the entire month of August to avert the possibility of any terror attack striking the nation.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh was in a conversation with her cabinet colleagues that the notorious criminal, Mir kasem Ali who is basically the treasury of Jammat –E- Islam continues to receive money from within the country and abroad to ‘fund’ the activities that his party is known for – spreading radicalism and fear in the nation.
How huge his nexus is unimaginable, but what has come to light is a worrying revelation: that 15 million Bangladeshi Takas used in the execution of the Gulshan Café attack was in fact, Mir Kasem Ali’s money.
The problem facing Bangladesh today is worrying: not only is it being victimized by attacks that are ostensibly orchestrated from abroad, but that its own people, especially educated, elite youth, are increasingly coming under the sway of extremist, radical ideologies. However, one of the government intelligences sources was quoted saying, “one of our main problems is that a number of terrorists are getting shelter in West Bengal, the province of India.”
Bangladesh and India share a border that is 4096 km long. Of this international border, West Bengal shares 2,217 km long border with Bangladesh. While India is ensuring surveillance around the border very strictly, but the character of the border facilitates easy sneaking both in and out. It has been reported that “the central government of India is very much tough against the terrorist but West Bengal provincial government is doing vote politics, they want Muslim vote, so they are overlooking it”. Besides West Bengal, Bangladesh shares a 443 km border with Meghalaya and 180 km with Mizoram.
The Indian government and Bangladesh government are working closely to take on the Islamic terrorists. Bangladesh has also observed that the Assam government is now very tough against the Islamic terrorists. According to one of the local newspapers published there, they have already arrested 69 Jammat-ul- Mujahidin of Bangladesh (JMB) in the last few days. What will be even more beneficial would be the hand-over of these criminals to Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina has told her people that they have to live with a great measure of alertness to the developments around them. The newly constituted counter-terrorism department of Bangladesh and all the elite and normal police forces are doing their best. Now, it is the responsibility of the people of Bangladesh to ensure that they lead the initiatives against radicalisation and extremism that some segments from within the Bangladeshi community are trying to spread. For after all, only social movements can overcome the social diseases that affect the nation of Bangladesh. The Muslims of Bangladesh have never been too conservative; they have always liberal and history tells us that they are more beholden to Bengali culture, which is intellectually rich and liberal to say the least.
*Swadesh Roy is the Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be reached at: [email protected]