Militancy Gains Fresh Ground
Taking it lightly can be too fatal
Published : Monday, 26 December, 2016 at 9:59 AM Count : 478
In recent weeks all concerned in the battle against terrorism appeared to have taken a 'holiday' as they believed the militants have seen their end -- maybe for losing string with their foreign masters and patrons, lack of funding or being fought to the far corner by law enforcers in Bangladesh.
This is somewhat right because since the Holey Artisan attack in July this year, when six militants were killed in the battle with law enforcers. Later on, 30 more militants died during massive raids on their hideouts in Dhaka, Narayanganj and other places of the country. Dozens were arrested and many fled who are being pursued by law enforcers.
All credit goes to the law enforcing and intelligence agencies. But did they go to relaxing mood without having fought all the militants to the end? It was a question stemming from the sudden quiet in hunting terrorists and their resurgence at Ashkona in the capital's Dakshin Khan where an attack on a hideout left two militants, including a woman dead and several wounded.
On Sunday, police found five live grenades and two suicide vests from the raided den, which suggests the militants are now more armed than their previous gangs as maybe their masters have supplied fresh weapons into the country.
The striking feature of the Ashkona fighting was that it revealed for the first time in the country that radicalised women have joined militancy and they were seen in fatal actions at Ashkona. They were members of a suicide squad, one blew herself up in which her minor daughter was also wounded, and the two more women surrendered to the law enforcers during the 12-hour-long siege of the hideout.
We had been earlier hearing that international militant outfit (Middle East based) ISIS recruited young people from Bangladesh, including women. But in the previous militant attacks we saw only the men -- until on Saturday when women showed up with heavy weapons and grenades to face off police and members of counter terrorism unit. This added a new fearsome dimension to the recent history of terrorism in Bangladesh.
The militants have been hired, trained, armed and set to fight to pursue a 'holy' mission by killing people in the name of Muslims' religion, Religious scholars say Islam does not permit any form of crime including killing and terrorism. However, Islamic bigots often confuse terrorism with the 'Jihad' - the holy war Prophet Mohammad (SM) had envisaged for the protection of religion.
The militants are gone through a motivational campaign and lured to commit heinous crimes by the 'carrot and donkey' formula, saying that such acts will take them to the heaven. So, they are not hesitant to sacrifice their lives to make the journey quickly.
But a woman fighting law enforcers with a child by her side is a completely new phenomenon in this country which calls for further comprehensive and coordinated battle plan to take the challenge.
Yes, the terrorists and militants have thrown a challenge to the government and law enforcers in Bangladesh leaving no doubt that they are here to fight and win laurels for their masters and patrons - who are also terrorising the world including the richest, biggest and most powerful countries like America, France and the whole of Middle East.
Taking the challenge lightly is already proved to be a grave mistake and the continuing to ignore or failing to attach due importance to them can be paralleled with living in the fool's paradise.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has introduced a zero tolerance policy towards the militancy and terrorism - and has since been highly praised throughout the world for her firm stance against this. But her intent to smash the militants in the buds will be foiled if the law enforcers and intelligent agencies take it leisurely with occasional breather in their action.
It is widely feared that militants have set up camps all over the country mixing with the common people and hiring houses or apartments on fake names, like the Ashkona apartment was hired in the name of a non-existent online news company. They have a countrywide network, being fed by money coming from abroad through local channels and used to spread militancy in this secular country with overwhelming Muslim majority.
It's noteworthy that the Dhaka city police chief says they are conducting drives to arrest "Neo JMB" leader Maynul Musa who, according to police, has escaped Saturday's raid in Ashkona. "Musa is a listed criminal, drives are going on to arrest him," Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia told journalists. But we wonder whether a terrorist (Neo JMB leader) is worth calling just a criminal? The Neo-JMB (the resurgent group of Jammat'ul Mujahideen Bangladesh) is the biggest terror entity in the country, besides nearly a dozen other outlawed groups. So, don't brand its leaders and members just as criminals. Instead, attach high 'importance' to fighting them and stopping the spread of militancy in Bangladesh.
Officials at the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit informed media that they were hunting for three people including Musa who was traced in Ashkona area a few days back.
We hope Musa and others will be caught or fought to death soon and their remnants will be hunted relentlessly in order to free Bangladesh from the orgy of militancy. Unless we succeed, Bangladesh will fall back on all its indicators as a country of peaceful, safe living by both local people and those harboured in the country on account of business and diplomacy.r
Anis Ahmed is Executive Editor,
The Daily Observer