Wednesday, March 16, 2005

BANGLADESH: Rising terror

In Dhaka, during a three-day countrywide strike to protest against the bomb attack on an Awami League rally on January 27.
The `pro-liberation' secular parties and civil society groups allege that Bangladesh is being held hostage by violent religious extremism and radicalism, which want to wreck its secular foundations. The ruling coalition has, however, dismissed the charge as "sheer propaganda" by an "unpatriotic Opposition". Observers wonder if it is a mere coincidence that the latest grenade attack came just a few days after the publication of the report in the New York Times, which exposed activities of a notorious fundamentalist outfit called the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), led by Bangla Bhai (Frontline, June 19, 2004). The same day, several associates of the Islamist commander were lynched by villagers, fed up with the police inaction with regard to the murder of an Awami League leader in Rajshahi. The report, headlined "For a new Taliban: The next Islamist Revolution?", was based on fieldwork done in the northern villages where the militant leader's militia is known to terrorise people in the Taliban fashion. The report created a fresh furore when Dhaka-based dailies carried its translation........More