Terrorism in the context of Bangladesh
Hafeejul Alam

No one would be much surprised if large-scale lawlessness and terrorism set in this country within a foreseeable future because of any possible disagreement

It is said that terrorism starts when humanity decays. Religion alone seldom spreads terrorism. Whenever religion was interpreted in a political way, it killed humans and ruined humanity.

Terrorism thrives in vicious political, economic, religious and psychological environments. Applying statistical and historical tools to terrorism trends, it can be seen that there are multiple causes of terrorism.

The starting point is perceived or real injustice. The next layer triggers when the elites validate violence by both state and non-state actors. This explains how individual behaviour is heavily influenced by ideas dominating the religious, political, social and psychological environment.

Obviously, before these powerful groups, even the majority of peace-loving people become helpless.

This provides a strong understanding of the rapid spread of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Driven by Cold War goals, the Western countries along with Pakistan supported and glorified non-state violent groups fighting in Afghanistan against the former USSR.

They called their fight a “jihad” in stark contrast to the real meaning of the word. Thus, the perverse political strategies of these countries rather than religion have contributed to making terrorism so common among Muslims today.

Dumped subsequently by their state supporters, many of these rebels and their direct descendants scout the sub-continent and beyond, today, searching for new causes.

Taking into consideration all of these factors, Bangladesh appears to be on the threshold of terrorism.

It’s not only the greed for power but the basic ideological difference of two major political parties, Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party, hardly bring their leaders to any fruitful negotiation leading to a peaceful general election in Bangladesh, despite repeated calls by the conscientious media and the civil society.

While a last minute solution of the election process cannot be ruled out, no one would be much surprised if large-scale lawlessness and terrorism set in this country within a foreseeable future because of any possible disagreement.

In any case, political problems should be solved politically and the party activists must not be encouraged to take the law into their own hands under any pretext.

In this respect, the present government should not confine itself to mere election strategy but act immediately to save the lives and properties of innocent people and religious minorities or else it will lose its right to govern this nation any more.

Time is running fast. The pro-liberation forces should also rise to the occasion and must not give in to those that are intent on turning the country into a haven for the terrorist outfits.

On the other hand, the opposition political parties should not resort to violence even if their demands are not met by the government, for violence never gives any solution except breeding more violence.

It is believed that if the opposition parties publicly renounce religious bigotry and assure the people of a clean government, people will massively vote for them even if the election is held under an interim arrangement with the incumbent prime minister as the head.

Despite much criticism, may we not forget that the present Election Commission very successfully conducted several major civic and innumerable local bodies election.

It may be worth mentioning here that Pakistan’s military is alleged to still use many of the terrorist groups for furthering its “regional goals”. Having let the genie out, the generals are battling to simultaneously put it back into the bottle in some places while continuing to utilise it for other battles.

The countries of South Asia and Bangladesh in particular must be cautious about these “regional goals”. Appeasing or arranging political talks with the militants rarely succeeds because of their flawed ideologies and core demands about applying their ideology countrywide undermines democracy and modern governance.

Sweet talk may not get this particular genie back into the bottle. The only way to contain them is to go for mass awareness against religious bigotry and terrorism, and of course, with massive spread of modern education in schools and madrassas.

Military action may eventually be required to counter terrorism of all kinds and shapes.
 

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Hafeejul Alam

Hafeejul Alam is a former civil servant

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