Overall PM Modi’s Visit to Bangladesh was a very productive visit where both side signed five MoUs covering areas such as connectivity, commerce, information technology, sports and of course strategic matters. The fifth matter was not mentioned in press release but signing five MoU but mentioning about only four, can definitely mean that it was defence related.
But all this happened when Bangladesh was burning due to riots and attack on Hindu temples caused by the Islamist extremists, that is why PM Modi on his visit explicitly mentioned in his speech that, “Both India and Bangladesh want to see the world progressing through their own development. Both the countries want to see stability, love, and peace instead of instability, terror, and unrest in the world”.
During 2001 to 2006 India Bangladesh relations fall to the lowest level. This was the time when the “Four Party Alliance” (now 18 party alliance) of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leading with 193 seats along with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh – 17, Jatiya Party (Manju) – 1 and Islami Oikya Jote – 2 won the election and BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia becoming Prime Minister. This was the result of highly radicalised election and wave of Islamic extremism running across Bangladesh. This year also marked the best period between Bangladesh Pakistan ties too.
The current riots and violence started in Bangladesh after an Islamist Deobandi group called Hefazat-e-Islam led street processions denouncing PM Modi. Hefazat is directly linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh which is traditional coalition partner of Khalida’s BNP. So far so now 10 ‘protester’ has died in police action against them.
This is not the First time that Hefazat (read as Jamaat & BNP) created riots in Bangladesh. In May 2013, Hefazat violently rioted in Dhaka on the ’13 Point’ of Radical Islamist demand which was similar to historical ’14 point’ demand by Mohd. Ali Jinnah. This was also contained by Sheikh Haseena Govt with an iron hand on Islamist and Mullahs. The Protest was so violent that Bangladeshi army was called-in which resulted in 50 deaths in Dhaka, 27 deaths in Naraynganj, 6 deaths in Chittagong and 1 in death in Bagerhat.
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) president Al Nahean Khan Joy which is affiliated to Sheikh Hasina’s ruling party Awami League accused Pakistan High Commission of funding Hefazat-e-Islam. While 2017 article in the The Economist also mentioned that many private Wahabi Islamist supporter from Saudi Arabia financially support Hefazat. Pakistan has time and again helped various Islamist group in Bangladesh to get BNP again back in Power which is radically Pro-Pakistan and Anti-India.
History has proved that Governance by mullahs is completely in inverse proportion to the development of the nation. Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan are some of the neighbouring examples of this. The Pro-Islamist govt by BNP and alliance parties brought worst ever period for development of Bangladesh. Today population at large in Bangladesh are against the radical Islam and that’s why in 2018 General Election, fundamentalist Islamist BNP was reduced to just 7 seats and Haseena’s Awami League won massive 300 seats out of total 350 seats in Jatiya Sangsad (The Parliament of Bangladesh).
So far New Delhi has not given any statement nor anywhere officially mentioned regarding the current on-going riots in Bangladesh but indirectly from the statements of PM Modi it is easily understandable that there must be back channel talk between both the leaders on this matter. That is exactly which needs to be done. Because speaking on this issue publicly will also put Haseena Govt unnecessarily in bad light who is even using guns against the Radical Islamist to contain them. Therefore India rightly focused on bilateral issue and also PM Modi visits to the Temples in Bangladesh was tight slap to all the Deobandi mullahs of Bangladesh.
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