By Jahangir Alam Akash, It has become very clear that Bangladesh is one of the main Asian countries where, everyday, Islamic militants are cultivated. The government acknowledges that Islamic militancy exists in Bangladesh, saying that “Militancy is a reality.”
On Aug. 4, 2009, State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haque Tuku said that people are not safe these days, whether they travel by foot or by car. “We are all being watched by the militants; this is the reality,” the state minister said, while inaugurating the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station. (Source: The Daily Star).
Tuku said, “Militancy is threatening the very existence of the country. Because of the activities of militants, war criminals, and anti-liberation forces, we are at a very high risk. They are moving Bangladesh toward a worse situation.” (Source: The Daily Sangbad)
Tuku called on people to stand united with law enforcement to root out militancy from the country. He also said the government would take every measure to strengthen the position of law enforcement, in order to improve law and order in the country. However, the state minister didn’t mention that Bangladesh is fully Islamized, per the direction of the country’s constitution. And he also didn’t saying anything about when the 1972 constitution might be reestablished.
I believe that, after the father of the nation, Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was killed, militancy became institutionalized in Bangladesh, and that for the last 34 long years, the number of Islamic militants have grown, due to patronage by the state. Under the BNP-Jamaat regime especially, militancy increased dramatically.
That government directly patronized militancy. Many minister and MPs of the BNP-Jamaat government support the militants. The police also provide safety for the militants. Sometimes, militants killed and tortured people right in front of the police. Militancy has become Bangladesh’s biggest problem. Militants are trying to kill the very popular Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, according to some sources.
Since 1999, at least 176 people have been killed and about 1,500 people have been hurt by Islamic militants in Bangladesh, including journalists, famous politicians, lawyers, and judges. Militants have attacked our Bangalee culture and secularism.
The daily newspaper, the Amader Shomoy, wrote, “The banned Islamic militant organization Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has made plans to kill Home Minister Sahara Khatun, Law Minister Shafiq Ahmed, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni. Sources said that, in connection with this, the director of the office of the prime minister, Mahmudur Rahman, sent a letter to the home ministry on July 27, 2009.”
The JMB has reorganized itself throughout the country; the government has taken measures to deal with this situation. A law for the safety of Bangabondhu’s family has already been passed. Security has increased for VIPs.
Another source said that 125 militant Islamic organizations are still active in Bangladesh, and that war criminals and anti-liberation forces have been working behind these organizations.
An important piece of news is that the former British high commissioner to Bangladesh, Anwar Choudhury, said on Aug. 4, 2009, “As you remember, we supported a free, fair and safe election as soon as possible. The road map published by the interim government showed it couldn’t be done because of the fair amount of time that was required…That is, what we always supported is something we’ve said for 40 years: for Bangladesh to become a democratic, stable and prosperous country.”
He went on to say, “What were happening in Bangladesh were the decisions of Bangladeshi people. It is because of the internal mechanism and politics of Bangladesh. Our position has always been clear, as you will see it time and again. We did not, and we do not, interfere in the internal dynamics of Bangladesh.”
Choudhury also said, “We want to see strong representation and leadership from Bangladesh. We think Bangladesh has a chance to lead the adaptation field and negotiate the deals for the countries that have been affected.” Street violence and killings led to the declaration of the state of emergency, he added.
Actually, Bangladesh has now been identified by the world as a dangerous place plagued by Islamic militancy. So, the state minister told the truth. We believe that without actual democracy, rule of law, good governance, and accountability, peace can’t be established and can’t combat Islamic militancy. So, if the present government really wants to combat militancy, they should go back to using the constitution of 1972. And the government should practice real democracy, rule of law, accountability, and good governance. Otherwise, Bangladesh’s situation will grow even darker in the days to come.