Terrorism in Bangladesh: A citizen’s perspective

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Bangladesh
Written By Kaushik Ahmed

MNA Editorial Desk: Bangladesh has been hit by several terrorist attacks in recent months including multiple suicide blasts which killed over a dozen people including two police officers and an intelligence wing chief of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). But can anyone see any benefits the attackers really derive from their horrific actions?

Some say that these attacks are deeming the achievements of the government. Others allege militancy is prompted by the “opposition” to destabilize the government. Some also claim that the attacks have been intended to establish Islamic rule and lifestyle in Bangladesh. But no one knows for sure really why such attacks are happening in Bangladesh — a secular Muslim majority country.

Lots of questions surround the recent attacks in Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Chittagong and other places of the country. We thereby keep losing our fellow countrymen both fighting for and against terrorism and also innocent victims.

Islam does not make any such promise but the patrons of the militants, the IS and al Qaeda and other extremist groups do believe in it to achieve heavenly peace. So, many Bangladeshi youths including those who are highly educated, come from well off families also got detracted and joined the militancy.

The terrorists and militants have claimed thousands of lives around the world, especially in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and some other countries.

 Lately they have added Bangladesh to the operational map. However, Bangladesh government’s “zero tolerance” policy against terrorism has significantly contained militancy thus saving lives. But the militants are changing their tactics — from taking and killing hostages like they did at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan café in July last year — to suicide bombing as they face stiffer resistance by police, RAB and army.

In the recently busted militant den in Moulvibazar seven militants were killed in battles with law enforcers. Among the dead were four children blown into pieces as suicide vests their parents wore had exploded, police said. Only people brainwashed and grossly misled can perhaps opt for that.

In Sylhet we have seen bombs planted or hurled by militants around their den Atia Mahal killed several people, signaling they have started targeting crowds. In other countries, especially Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, suicide bombers ripped through public transports, markets and avenues filled with people in their series of mayhems.

[Terrorism in Bangladesh: A citizen’s perspective] What they want to gain is still a mystery. Are the militants acting for their own or for others? We must find these answers to keep terrorism at bay in our country.

The history does not show a single record that any militant group starting from Red Brigade to Al-Qaeda to Shorbohara Party — has finally become successful in their goals. They might have triggered some fusions but with secret attacks they did not win the support of the mass that is imperative to win a success.

In Bangladesh also, both before and after the Liberation War, many militant groups came into the scene but none of them could place any significant threat or could not bring any change. This is difficult to say who or which group is getting benefitted from the acts of terrorism.

If we look at the recent incidents, we come across no explicitly defined goals. But we cannot rule out chances of further acts of terrorism and destructions to follow.

The militant groups all around the world are trying to spread their grip in every country. They have spread their domain from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Europe, Africa, America to Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the international terrorist groups have bred their local auxiliaries like the Jamaat’ul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB), Ansarullah and several other groups in our country.

They have deep rooted purposes from creating panic to killing people — through operations under various names like Sleeper Cell. But the law enforcing agencies as well as the government acted strongly and eliminated the top leaders of JMB but the group was not eliminated completely. Now their followers have formed Neo-JMB which is widely blamed for most of the recent terror attacks.

The government ands law enforces, however, persistently denied any existence or presence of IS (Islamic State) in Bangladesh though IS has claimed responsibility for almost every attacks that its disciple carried out over the last years. Experts and analysts blame the rise and spread of militancy in Bangladesh on continued refusal by the authorities to accept reality.

Being chased down everywhere, especially by the US-led anti-terror drive in the Middle East, the militant groups need to have new, relatively safe operations ground like in small country Bangladesh. They are pushing their mission ahead relentlessly from continent to continent – and found Bangladesh one appropriate location because the country has large population of orthodox Muslims.

Recently suicide bombs have been used in Bangladesh in attacks on a RAB barrack in Dhaka and a police outpost near the Dhaka airport. Casualties have been two militants killed and several injured.

The new-JMB or Ansarullah Bangla team or whichever terrorist group have carried out the recent suicide attacks are clearly motivated, trained and possibly funded by their overseas mentors and might be up for mass destruction assaults unless taken to task immediately.

We don’t want Bangladesh to become another Iraq, Pakistan or Afghanistan. However, we have full confidence in the government desire and ability to confront terrorism and fully support the ongoing anti-militancy crackdown as per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ‘zero tolerance” policy.

The position of Bangladesh is very vital in the region and terrorism in our country can bring disturbance to its neighbours, especially India. Bangladesh is currently maintaining very good relationship with the neighbours and has been appreciated in the region for its tough stance against terrorism.

Bangladesh has repeatedly assured India that no Indian rebel, insurgent or terror group will be ever allowed to use Bangladesh’s soil to run their operation. This will be further stressed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India next week.

Kaushik Ahmed is the Associate Editor of Mohammadi News Agency. This article was first published in The Daily Observer.