Over the last two to three years, while there have been a plethora of international print media reporting on possible violent Islamic militancy in Bangladesh, many of us protested. I, living in USA for almost ten years, did not believe it was possible in Bangladesh. I thought some of these as media exaggeration; some thought these were all planted materials of Indian propaganda agencies. Our government, from grass root supporters of ruling party to the top leadership, believed in the same line.
I feel that the government leadership genuinely believed what they said during that time. I don’t believe they knew what they now know. Or probably, they could not imagine the danger of the frankenstine they are nurturing.
Now all government leaders, including the prime minister, home minister, police high ups, are saying in a chorus, the culprits are JMB or JMJB.
I agree with them.
But the question, what Alex Perry, sitting in his Hong Kong office, could know why the government leadership didn’t have any clue about this?
Who to blame?
While it is true there has been a systemic indifference towards rise of militancy by the ruling party, a sense of patronization of certain entities, I won’t blame one single person or party, department or any political conspiracy or any political bias.
The reasons I feel are as follows.
1. I feel this whole undercover rise of Islamic militancy, is a representative sample of a grim picture of the inefficiency of the government machinery. I don’t like to believe it, but it is probably true, government employees in Bangladesh, starting from the top most officials to the lowest paid workers, go to work every morning with an agenda. This is not the agenda of their job responsibility. This is their personal agenda. Everyone spends all their concentration, intellect, skill, time and effort to make a gain in their personal fortune. A police CID or Special branch officer goes to work daily and spends most of their thought on how to make some money or some other kind. A DC or magistrate or government attorney do their official job as a mere formality, they have to keep more focused on keeping ruling party leaders happy or other doing political financial staff. A minister, today with one portfolio, tomorrow with the other, keep worrying about fetching enough money for next election, or spends all his creativity in devising how to keep the prime minister or her son happy. I believe, few, if any, in the government are really doing the job they are supposed to do.
2. Secondly, there is an inherent attitude among the people in our country is to think of people in religious outfits as benign ‘good’ people. A thought prevails everywhere, “Oh, he is ‘Huzur manush’,” as if no serious harm is possible with him. Until recently, we were not used to suspecting a man in religious outfit as a harmful entity. There used to be a deep sentiment in Bangladesh against prosecuting these orthodox Islamic entities in Bangladesh. They were kind of beyond the law. They could go by doing whatever they wanted to do.
3. This is probably why, ruling party have been sympathetic to Jamaat, JMB, JMJB-Bangla vai etc
I see a silver lining in the big black cloud of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh. That is, the attitude is changing, and is changing very rapidly.
We are fortunate, time and again. In 1971, Jamaat-e-Islami acted against popular pro-independence movement in East Pakistan. That stand still kept them handicapped in Bangladesh politics. They are still political pariahs to the majority of the people in Bangladesh.
Now this militancy by the madrassa based religious extremists took away the immunity, they used to enjoy so far. A ‘huzur’ in typical outfit is no longer the respected, adored figures in Bangladesh, rather they, now a day, are immediate suspects.