Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:18:49 AM
Sagar Biswas :
When main opposition BNP directly blames the government for its 'insincerity' in curbing militancy with an intention to make political gains, the ruling Awami League turns down the allegation saying that BNP itself 'patronizes religious extremists'.
Ministers and senior leaders of AL, and BNP stalwarts have started issuing statements and counter statements against each other for the last couple of days following recent terror attacks and anti-militant drives in different parts of the country, including Chittagong's Sitakunda and RAB forces barrack at Ashkona in Dhaka.
Although BNP raised questions over the anti-militant drives, interestingly both AL and BNP leaders have categorically admitted that militancy issue is a 'national problem' and it should be tackled 'national unity'. But about existence of IS [Islamic State], the two parties gave opposing statements.
Blaming the government, BNP's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Saturday said: "Questions have been raised about the recent militant activities, when India is creating pressure on Bangladesh for singing a defence pact… Government is not sincere enough in curbing militancy. Rather, the government wants to prolong its tenure by nourishing the militancy."
Raising question over the recent anti-militant drives, the BNP leader further said: "Suddenly, the terrorist activities have increased. It has created question in the people's mind. We think, the government is patronizing and supporting the militancy."
Echoing the same, BNP Standing Committee Member and former Commerce Minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury on Saturday said: "The government is using the 'militancy issue' for getting legitimacy. These are all happening just before Prime Minister's India visit. People do not believe in government's action regarding the militants."
"If there is no people's trust, then how could it possible to control militancy only by using RAB and police? Militancy is a tough issue. It needs national unity to tackle the problem. But now it [militancy] is used for
repressing opposition parties and dissents. We've observations that government focuses on the militancy issue when people want accountability on certain issues," he said pointing PM's India tour in next April.
Earlier on Friday, BNP's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said: "The militancy issue is still a mysterious one to people. It is not sure whether proper action is taken against militant for curbing extremism. We think the government is trying to make political gains by using the issue."
Countering the statements, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has alleged that the BNP usually opposes anti-militant drives as it patronizes the religious extremists. "The BNP is jealous as the government has been fighting militancy successfully. Militancy a political evil and it will be fought politically," he said the same day.
In line with the government's policy, Quader, who is also Transport and Bridges Minister, on Saturday said: "Communal extremism is an obstacle for ideal atmosphere in the country… These types of attacks [of militants] seem to be a hindrance for election. The nation must be united against it. It's a challenge for the nation."
Transmitting the same message of government, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday said that BNP is the root of militancy and the party is also liable for patronizing it.
Not only that, the same voice was echoed by Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan. "A vested quarter is trying to destabilize the country using militancy issue with the cooperation of Pakistan," the Minister said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, however, admitted that government has not yet root out the militancy from the country. "We're in a risk. Earlier, different quarters had used militancy as their political weapon. They thought it would benefit them. But in course of time, it becomes a devil. Though the government has been able to control the militancy, it is yet to eliminate the problem," Shahriar said.
Significantly, the Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque has not directly blame any political party or leaders for patronizing the militancy. "The police have identified the network and supporters of militants, including Neo-JMB. The law enforcers have launched a massive crackdown to nab them."
The IGP also ruled out the existence of IS in the country, saying that the police have not get any evidence about their [IS] activities till the date. "The home grown terrorists are carrying out the militant activities in the country," he said.
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