Perils of radical Jamaat-e-Islami and its network in Bangladesh
The recent violence instigated and orchestrated by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has brought back apprehensions of the role of radical Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and its links with cross-border terror outfits in South Asia.
BNP has decades old ties with JeI and both have benefitted from each other’s politics. BNP-JeI formed a right-wing coalition to rule Bangladesh between 2001-06 and the period witnessed systematic targeting of the Hindu community.
JeI may present itself as a “moderate Islamic political party” but it is a complex movement with a totalitarian agenda which seeks to establish an Islamic State by abolishing democratic institutions and any return to power by JeI will only help the organization to further its medieval agenda.
It is no secret that JeI collaborated with Pakistan military in 1971 in acts of genocide, loot, arson, rape and other kinds of violence against women. Between 2,00,000-4,00,00 women became victims of rape and sex slavery of Jamaat-e-Islami during the liberation war.
JeI was revived in the post Mujib under the regime of Zia-ur-Rehman (founder of BNP) as he paved way for political participation of JeI through Fifth Amendment to Bangladesh’s Constitution. Zia’s successor Gen Ershad appointed two war criminals Abdul Mannan and Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury to cabinet positions.
In 1998 JeI formed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB which wanted to transform Bangladesh into an Islamic State.
JMB had attacked PM Sheikh Hasina when she was the leader of the Opposition. In recent years ISIS Bangladesh and HuJI Bangladesh have close ties with JeI.
The leader of Bangladesh ISIS Md. Kamrul Hasan is a member of JeI.
JeI in the past backed anti-American forces in Afghanistan including in the aftermath of 9/11 and JeI in fact created a fund for this.
JeI’s student wing Islamic Chattra Shibir has been at the forefront of instigating violence including during elections. Shibir has also trained Rohingya extremists.
JeI spreads its narrative in Bangladesh through two Bangla dailies – Naya Diganta and Daily Sangram. JeI and BNP have tried to shape narrative in the West by targeting the War Crimes Tribunal set up the Hasina government to try war criminals.
(The writer is a Delhi-based geopolitical commentator and a South Asia watcher)
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