Our crisis is political and has to be met politically17 July 2016 Editorial Desk
It is a shame that the BBC interlocutors have a better understanding about the true reason of terrorism in Bangladesh than those chosen for taking part in the discussion on terrorism in Bangladesh. The BBC radio aired this discussion on Friday.
Sadly, a power struggle is most bitterly pursued in Bangladesh between those who call themselves freedom fighters and those others who are termed anti-liberation elements.
The crisis of terrorism is our own creation and the government is very right in insisting that our terrorism is home-grown and not international. But when it comes to the ways of fighting terrorism, the government is fighting it like the international terrorism using police power. Thus those who are in power find it convenient to blame our religion for the extremism growing in Bangladesh.
It is also not wise to calling the terrorists Islamist fanatics because of the fear that such allegation is likely to cause tension among our religious people who are moderate and peace-loving. The government's policy makers have now targeted mosques to tell the nature of khutba to preach at mosques.
The whole world acknowledges that our people are moderate in practicing Islam. There was no terrorism before our election politics was buried and the government became dependent on police power. The government does not attach importance to its democratic legitimacy.
If, as claimed by the government that Jamaat is the anti-Bangladesh force and they are responsible for terrorism, that itself is no logic for true freedom fighters to act against democracy which is the very foundation of the liberation war.
It will be wrong to ask anybody to forget our legacy of long struggle for democracy and how strongly they believe in democratic freedoms.
It is our people together with the freedom fighters based in India not the few freedom fighters alone won the liberation war with direct help of India. No freedom fighter can claim to do whatever he thinks right. The beneficiaries of the government call themselves freedom fighters while denying the democratic objectives of the liberation war. They cannot live with such a blunt contradiction and hope to have peace and order in the country.
The participants chosen in the discussion on BBC radio described those as terrorists who do not believe in Bangladesh and are opposing independence of Bangladesh. As if the independence for Bangladesh was achieved by few freedom fighters like those in power. Then they were most anxious to prove the existence of religious extremists to be blamed solely for current wave of terrorism.
On the one hand the supporters of the government are saying it is home-grown terrorism on the other hand the same persons are explaining our terrorism as international kind of Islamic terrorism. The government that does not accept the importance of the people's vote for being elected as government is asking the people to be united to fight terrorism on their behalf.
The discussants mentioned every other reason for terrorism to grow in Bangladesh except the reason of political discontent. They were seen as very knowledgeable to emphasise cultural disconnect among our young ones to be misguided. The parents and teachers were also blamed for their negligence in not taking care of our young ones.
Now the government will keep the universities under scrutiny creating more discontent and distrust. The police will have extra power over the universities. The government sees failure everywhere else, but not its own failure to contain terrorism and ensure safety to the people.
Now the government offices, private companies and business concerns - all are seeking police protection. Not only that, the courts and judges are no exception. The question is how long such a situation of living under police surveillance will continue? And how effective such protection will be?
When the questions were raised about the problems of absence of democracy and suppression of opposition in the country, the discussants timidly but reluctantly admitted such problems. The question was about government's own competence to deal with terrorism.
The discussants generally found fault with the opposition not being responsible. Still they are not agreeable to give the political side of the crisis due importance. The impression they gave was that the political issues are peripheral. Their support to fight terrorism by all sections of the people, including teachers and parents ignoring the internal politics of the country was consistent and clear.
They employed all their wisdom and wit not to say that our terrorism is politically created and has to be ended politically. They failed to say that indiscriminate arrest of young ones and making them incarcerate in jail without trial cannot be the right way even for fighting religious terrorism. Not granting bail means any young man arrested on suspicion is treated as terrorist because the police, say so. The young ones will feel more insecure, especially when the jobs are also not available in the country to keep them fruitfully busy.
Our anxiety is that misleading the government is not helping the government.
Whether political or religious terrorism is not a game. In both cases, the persons are extremely dangerous. The killers at Artisan Cafe in Gulshan should make the government to review its course of action about the home-grown nature of violent actions being perpetrated.
The course of police actions and activities has not proved helpful for making the country safe. If we are wrong, we shall be pleased, if the government is found right in making our lives safe and restore order in the country. But it has to be quick. Our economy is facing terrible consequences.