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Islamist takeover of Bangladesh getting inevitable

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.

While Pakistani state machinery and its mouthpieces in the media are continuously branding India as “worst enemy of Muslims”, sitting in Washington DC, Joe Biden and members of his administration are pushing-forward a dangerous agenda of helping Islamist and jihadist forces, such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) as well as pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islami seize power either through undemocratic ways or through an engineered election held under Biden’s men. It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh is expected to hold its next general election in January 2024.

On January 5, 2014, BNP and JeI boycotted the election and resorted to terrorist activities thus attacking, looting, and vandalizing Hindu homes and temple, while a large number of Hindu girls and women fell victims of sexual violence and rape. A large number of BNP-JeI activists were arrested in connection with these gruesome attacks on Hindus. In India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemned the attacks on Hindus and called for stern action against the perpetrators of crimes. But now, the same BNP is trying to attract Hindu votes by offering sops to the Hindus if BNP is voted to power.

Accusing prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League, traditionally perceived sympathetic towards Hindus, of grabbing land of temples, cremation grounds and houses of Hindus, Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders were quoted by newspapers as assuring the Hindu community that BNP would stand by them if they are attacked.

Ironically, Khaleda Zia, chairperson of BNP who had in 1996 parliamentary elections campaigned that Bangladesh would be part of India and become a Hindu state if Awami League was voted to power.

Khaleza Zia, who had stated in the election campaigns of 1996 that Azan (call for Muslim prayer) would be replaced in Bangladesh by blowing of conch-shells if Awami League came to power.

It was during the rule of Bangladesh Nationalist Party under Khaleda Zia’s premiership that around 3000 Hindu temples in Bangladesh were damaged, many Hindu girls and women raped and properties of Hindus destroyed following the demolition of Babri mosque in India in December 1992.

As a mark of protest, a section of Hindus in Bangladesh did not celebrate their biggest religious festival Durga Puja with traditional pomp and instead restricted it to a symbolic puja ignoring threats from the then ruling party BNP and its frontal outfits, both overtly and covertly.

Why BNP is anti-Hindu and anti-India? The response came from a senior leader of the party.

According to BNP Former Foreign Minister M Morshed – “Late president Ziaur Rahman founded BNP challenging the Indian hegemony and people who strongly opposed India joined the party. The party’s main strength is the anti-India politics”.

“Those who are the mainstream BNP can’t be pro-India … BNP was born with anti-India sentiment as the majority of people in the country are anti-India”, said a senior leader of BNP.

It may be mentioned here that, BNP leaders univocally uphold a dangerous notion where it is said, “existence of Bangladesh depends on continuous and massive confrontation with India”. Although during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh, Pakistani occupation forces had murdered three million Bengalis, whereas the final casualty figures for Hindus sum up to anywhere between 1.2 to 2.4 million, as Hindus accounted for nearly 80 percent of those killed; Bangladesh Nationalist Party considers Pakistan as their “trusted and tested ally” and “brethren”, which certainly goes against the spirit of Bangladesh’s war of independence.

Even in March 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh’s independence, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its ideological allies – Hefazat-e-Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami staged countrywide demonstration, arson attacks, attacks on Hindus as well as Hindu homes and temples, demanding, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “should not” participate in country’s golden jubilee celebrations. At that time, West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee had also echoed the voice of Bangladeshi Islamists.  

BNP serves beef to Hindus

During 2022 Ramadan, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) served beef to the Hindu invitees at its iftar party.

According to media reports, the event was organised by the Sylhet unit of BNP at the Kushiara International Convention Hall in Chondipul in Dakshin Surma in the Sylhet district. As per reports, the attendees confirmed that the meals were kept in front of each chair even before the start of the Iftar party.

The dishes included beef curry, chole, onion fritters, dates and potato cutlet. A total of 20 Hindu party members and leaders were invited to the event. Besides, several non-Muslim journalists were also present to cover the Iftar party. However, no alternate arrangements were made for them. Instead, they were also served beef curry like the Muslim members of the party. As a result, the Hindu invitees didn’t eat the served meal. Several Hindu leaders of the BNP expressed their discontentment during the event. Many labelled the treatment meted out to them as ‘downright communal.’ Some party members also took to Facebook to display their angst.

BNP-Jamaat attacks on Hindus

Referring to Ain o Shalish Kendra, an article in The Print said, there have been more than 3,600 attacks on Hindus since 2013. That year, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist group, the Jamaat-e-Islami, unleashed large-scale communal violence to protest the conviction of its leader, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, for war crimes he committed in the liberation campaign of 1971.

It further said “Even though Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government have sought to stamp out the violence, Islamists remain an entrenched part of Bangladesh’s political landscape. The regime’s authoritarian policies—driven, in part, by its effort to stamp out jihadism—undermined its legitimacy, forcing unhappy compromises with competing Islamist groups.

“From its famine-ravaged, blood-soaked birth, Bangladesh has succeeded in transforming itself into one of the region’s most vibrant economies. Fundamentalism, though, remains a powerful force, threatening to undo those hard-won gains”.

Islamists want to “take back” Bangladesh

For the last three years, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist-jihadist cronies, including Jamaat-e-Islami has been spending hugely towards lobbyists in the United States and Britain with the agenda of returning to power with direct help from the Biden administration, It was also reported in the media that BNP was also looking for hiring Hunter Biden as one of its lobbyists. Meanwhile, Joe Biden and key members of his administration are showing signs of their visible inclination towards anti-Awami League and anti-Sheikh Hasina bloc thus granting assurance to BNP and Jamaat of America’s help in ousting or defeating Awami League from power by January 2024.

While situation is truly complex for Awami League, members of Bangladesh’s civil-military administration, including intelligence agencies are playing dubious role – covertly and overtly against ruling Awami League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while they are showing no signs or even interest in countering BNP-Jamaat’s notorious lobbyist acts and media assaults.

During the recent months it has been observed with greatest worries that sensitive and even top-secret documents and information are being regularly leaked to opponents of Awami League, who are using those in further expediting ongoing propaganda against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Awami League and key figures in the government. In my opinion, those civil-military and intelligence officials are doing this as they too have started believing that Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islamist-jihadist blocs may return to power anytime soon and it is investable.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.
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