The Dhaka Terrorist Incident Stinks!

Indian state’s reluctance to accord the shortest shrift to home-grown hate-monger Zakir Naik living in its financial capital Mumbai is suspicious to say the least.

Bangladesh political capital’s horizons darkening with terrorist vain shadows are massive causes for a global worry.

Bangladesh’s giant neighbour – the Hindu-majority Bharat has a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about the incidents of terrorism within the borders of her soft, Muslim dominated eastern underbelly – Bangladesh and worse – its own domestic, lawless backyard.

The blame-shifting sifting sands of India’s shameful political set-up could lead to the common public decide that its civil administration and policing set-ups are adjectives of quicksands of official apathy. The mugs of the 2 main political entities – the ruling right-wing National Democratic Alliance and the hapless Congress-led, woefully divided and discredited United Progressive Alliance are acquiring darker hues of shameless greed of their respective crony capitalist sources of funding political moneybags.

Indian political system may soon stare at a very, very nasty surprise that would blow up on the her governmental countenance. Such surprises could start and startle in the India’s North East states of Assam and West Bengal where Muslim bomb-making factories seem to be as common as houseflies.

Serious gaps in the narratives post the post mortems of the dead innocents in Bangladesh’s worst terrorist nightmares in Dhaka’s fashionable diplomatic enclave and the Muslim Eid festival lend eerie sinister twists to the harrowing tales.

Bangladesh’s stout denial of an ISIS hand in the incidents, the highly doubtful claims of ISIS about the killers being part of its fold, the total non-conformity to ISIS’s execution methods in Dhaka’s terrorist incident, the dead perpetrators being well-educated and belonging to top Bangladeshi families and the selection of the victims – most of whom were foreigners – all point to something extremely sinister.

Not a single portion of the Dhaka terrorist incident conforms to the established pattern of the ISIS or ISI-led Al Qaeda – both of which are active in India and elsewhere in the world.

According to independent international media outlets, the slain ‘terrorists’ did not seem like terrorists at all and had more in common with the victims.

A close look at the aspects of this unsolved puzzle reveals the swishing of multiple-edged geopolitical swords.

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Do factual fjords in official and semi-official accounts indicate hidden messages from elements using Islamic terrorism as a tool to spread global mayhem?

Are terrorist groups trying to spoil Bangladesh’s economy which is on the up-and-up by asking all foreign contributing nations to get out by specifically targeting donor nations’ citizens?

Is Pakistan disturbing India’s eastern flank yet again using the opposition parties in Bangladesh that nurse a pathological hatred for India?

Should the warning notes issued by intellectuals in India that point to ISIS entering India in a big way in the wake of the Dhaka incident be taken more seriously by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Are Sheikh Hasina’s lofty speeches to curb terrorism in Bangladesh hiding something else altogether?

Are several suspiciously hidden facts the causes for the vehement denial by Bangladesh of the ISIS hand in the Dhaka terrorist incident?

Is Sheikh Hasina playing to the gallery in India by shifting blame on Pakistan and worse, is Pakistan taking advantage of the murky situation by playing up the fears of Islamic fundamentalists in Bangladesh?

The facts:

The cream of the global media concentrated on the story for well over 14 hours – leaving other news items to serve as ‘fillers’. Even before the first one was buried, the second one marring Islam’s holiest festival Eid acquired its unholy, ‘HOLEY’ facet. And this part of the tale has more holes than Swiss cheese.

The ‘filler news items’ that failed to fill the sieve-like stories include tidings the political instability in Australia post the parliamentary elections and US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s escape from a threatening FBI noose over the abuse of a private email server for highly confidential communications while serving as the virtual number 2 in Obama’s cabinet.

Other terrorist incidents that leave hundreds of bodies strewn along the wayside in various parts of the globe due to terrorists’ bombs neither shock nor awe anyone worldwide.

Seventeen of the 20 hostages were killed by terrorists in the Dhaka restaurant located in one of the crème-de-la-crème parts of Bangladesh’s capital’s diplomatic quarter with a HOLEY nomenclature were obvious foreigners – in appearance. The nine dead Italians and 6 murdered Japanese were easily identifiable and targeted for being foreigners by their killers. Eyewitnesses confirmed this.

The violent and insanely barbaric terrorist group – Islamic State a.k.a. ISIS publicly stated that the killers were part of its gang and provided so-called ‘photographic evidence’ to back the claim.

Bangladesh officially denied this and laid the blame squarely at the door of Pakistan and the local opposition parties.

Operative excerpts from the Hindustan Times:

Bangladesh blamed “home-grown” Islamist terrorists and Pakistan’s spy agency ISI for the country’s worst terror attack in which 20 hostages were hacked to death, ruling out the role of the Islamic State.

“Let me clear it again, there is no ISIS or al Qaeda presence or existence in Bangladesh… the hostage-takers were all home-grown terrorists not members of ISIS or any other international Islamist outfits,” home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said.

“We know them (hostage-takers) along with their ancestors, they all grew up here in Bangladesh… they belong to home-grown outfits like JMB (Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh),” he said.

Hossain Toufique Imam, the political adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said the way in which the hostages were killed with machetes suggests the role of a local terrorist group, the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

Pakistan’s ISI and Jamaat connection is well known… they want to derail the current government,” Imam told a TV channel.

The arrested terrorist pulled out at the last minute out of fear and he holds the key to crucial details, he said.

[Emphasis added]

Credible international media analysts discounted the ISIS claim.

Operative excerpts from a report published by one of India’s highly respected newspapers – The Telegraph from Kolkata:

Official sources have identified five of the gunmen as Akash, Bikash, Don, Badhon and Ripon.

However, The Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh said friends of three of these attackers cited different names: Nibras Islam, Meer Saameh Mubasher and Rohan Imtiaz.

Nibras is an alumnus of Turkish Hope School and North South University, “a top private university” in Dhaka, according to the Star. He pursued higher studies on the Australian Monash University’s Malaysia campus, according to his friends.

Similarly, Meer and Rohan, son of a politician, were students of an elite school in Dhaka, their friends said.

All these youths had disappeared from the social circuit a few months ago and sources close to their families said they could notice sudden signs of religious leanings among them.

The profiles of the young men – they appeared to be in their twenties and the government said three were aged below 22 – did not fit the usual template of poor economic background and education rooted in seminaries.

Sumir Barai, a cook at the Holey Artisan Bakery where the hostage situation unfolded on Friday night, said the attackers spoke cosmopolitan Bengali and some English when conversing with the foreigners. “They were all smart and handsome and educated,” The New York Times quoted him as saying. “If you look at those guys, nobody could believe they could do this.”

The attackers’ background was more in sync with that of many of their victims who had varied interests and were thriving in a wired world than the stereotypes yoked to terrorism.

And Pakistan denied the Dhaka charge vehemently!

The original questions:

Do factual fjords in official and semi-official accounts indicate hidden messages from elements using Islamic terrorism as a tool to spread global mayhem?

Are terrorist groups trying to spoil Bangladesh’s economy which is on the up-and-up by asking all foreign contributing nations to get out by specifically targeting donor nations’ citizens?

Is Pakistan disturbing India’s eastern flank yet again using the opposition parties in Bangladesh that nurse a pathological hatred for India?

Should the warning notes issued by intellectuals in India that point to ISIS entering India in a big way in the wake of the Dhaka incident be taken more seriously by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Are Sheikh Hasina’s lofty speeches to curb terrorism in Bangladesh hiding something else altogether?

Are several suspiciously hidden facts the causes for the vehement denial by Bangladesh of the ISIS hand in the Dhaka terrorist incident?

Is Sheikh Hasina playing to the gallery in India by shifting blame on Pakistan and worse, is Pakistan taking advantage of the murky situation by playing up the fears of Islamic fundamentalists in Bangladesh?

Indications and inferences:

Pakistan – now being blamed for fomenting trouble in Bangladesh has begun singing a familiar tune – suggesting wrongdoing on the part of Hasina. Operative excerpts from a report published in Pakistan’s Express Tribune:

But as we have seen in the case of Pakistan-India relations, politics overtakes common sense. At a time when as a region we should be jointly fighting the rise in terrorism, we are all playing our little games.

My heart sank when I saw front page venom against Pakistan when I visited Bangladesh last year. This despite the fact that Bangladesh has been independent for over 40 years. The hanging of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and the predictable reaction that Pakistan gave to this had only added fuel to the fire.

Pakistan was only one of the many fronts opened by the government.

The opposition has been virtually silenced. A visit to the beautiful Dhaka Press Club confirmed my worst fears. The press is under siege. I heard stories of editors being harassed. Of papers being shut down. Of criticism being stifled.

At the time of my visit, social media had been blocked.

Experts now say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on the country’s largest militant party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.

Is Islamabad issuing a veiled threat to Hasina saying, “Move away from India or else”?

Is it a not-so-subtle suggestion that a section of Pakistan media is gloating over Bangladesh’s hour of misfortune?

Is Bangladesh’s officialdom being economical with the truth while ruling out ISIS hand?

Operative excerpts from the credible New York Times suggest exactly that.

The attack also suggests that Bangladesh’s militant networks are internationalizing, a key concern as the United States seeks to contain the growth of the Islamic State.

Bangladesh’s 160 million people are almost all Sunni Muslims, including a demographic bulge under the age of 25. This makes it valuable as a recruiting ground for the Islamic State, now under pressure in its core territory of Iraq and Syria. Western intelligence officials have been watching the organization pivot to missions elsewhere in the world, launching attacks on far-flung civilian targets that are difficult to deter with traditional military campaigns.

“We need to take serious stock of the overall threat,” said Shafqat Munir, a research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies. “There were all sorts of warnings and signs and everything. But I don’t think anyone expected anything as audacious and large-scale as this.”

[Emphasis supplied]

The ISIS angle to the Dhaka attack can be discerned from an India Today report. Operative Excerpts:

Islamic State has made its intentions clear of launching terror attacks in India through its bases in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In an interview with the group’s online magazine Dabiq in April, Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif, ‘Amir of Khilafah in Bengal’ said that once the group manages to build bases in Bangladesh, it will launch raids in east and west of India.

Shaykh asserted that Bengal (IS calls Bangladesh as Bengal) has a strategic location and building a jihadi base there will facilitate ISIS to launch guerrilla attacks in India.

In a nutshell, the ISIS angle in Dhaka does threaten India.

So, why is Hasina denying the ISIS angle to the Dhaka attack and laying the blame squarely on Pakistan?

Hasina has more to gain by isolating the opposition in Bangladesh.

Her regime has been internationally slammed for the incessant, virtually unchecked, large-scale mayhem.

Operative excerpts from a report from The Guardian in April 2016:

The government of Sheikh Hasina Wajid is under growing pressure in Bangladesh to end an apparent culture of impunity after a series of brutal murders of secular writers, bloggers and liberal intellectuals by radical Islamists.

A torrent of protest followed the latest killings of Xulhaz Mannan, editor of the country’s only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender magazine (LGBT), and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, an actor and fellow gay rights activist. Critics have accused the Awami League government of failing to act effectively to stop the carnage.

“It is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened members of civil society,” said Amnesty International’s Champa Patel, reacting to the four killings so far this month.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, echoed the criticism, along with other western leaders. Similar protests by Bangladeshi free speech activists and well-known foreign writers have had little discernible effect in the past.

Since 2013, attacks characterised by the assailants’ use of machetes and cleavers have claimed the lives of secular bloggers, authors, journalists, academics and teachers of a supposedly liberal bent. The common denominator is the offence their views supposedly cause to hard-line Islamists among Bangladesh’s mostly moderate and tolerant Sunni Muslim majority.

Westerners in general have also been randomly targeted in the past 12 months, as have members of Bangladesh’s Shia and Ahmadi Muslim minorities, Hindus and Christian converts.

Pro-Pakistan elements have tried to kill Hasina in the past. Excerpts from a Wikipedia dossier:

The opposition, political unrest and violence increased against Hasina have increased since the 2004. Ahsanullah Master, an MP, was killed in 2004. This was followed by a grenade attack on an Awami League gathering in Dhaka, resulting in the death of 21 party supporters, including party women’s secretary Ivy Rahman. Shah M S Kibria, Hasina’s former finance minister, was also killed that year, in a grenade attack in Sylhet that year.

A section of Bangladesh’s army continues to be in cahoots with sections in Pakistan.

Hasina has her fair share of domestic worries.

Hasina’s father and founder of independent Bangladesh – Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated on India’s Independence Day in 1975 by several junior commissioned officers from the military. Only Hasina and her sister Rehana survived the bloody coup as they were visiting Germany. It is said that the coup was planned and executed by Mujib’s former Man-Friday – Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad with some help from Pakistan and United States of America. The  foreign policy of the later was then loaded against Bangladesh’s bigger neighbour India – then a client state of the now defunct Soviet Union.

Two more military coups took place bringing the then army boss General Zia-Ur-Rahman to power with reported help from India. Zia granted Mujib’s assassins immunity from prosecution.

Zia was assassinated in 1981 in Chittagong. His widow Khaleda has been Hasina’s bitterest enemy since then.

On January 28, 2010 capital punishment was meted out to 6 retired army officers – who had held ranks of major, lt. colonel and colonel. According to Hasina, they represented the pro-Pakistan anti Awami-Party opposition who had taken part in the killing of her father Mujib and several other members of her family.

The Khaleda-led opposition has levelled several serious charges against Hasina since 2007.

In 2007, when out of power, Hasina was charged with graft over having allegedly forced Bangladeshi businessman Tajul Islam Farooq to pay bribes in 1998 before his company could build a power plant to the tune of US$441,000 in local currency called taka to obtain statutory approval. Hasina denied the charges. The stigma, however, stuck.

The same year, police filed a charge-sheet in a 7 month old murder case of 4 supporters of a rival political party against Hasina. She wasn’t convicted by the courts, but her image suffered. Then in self-imposed exile, Hasina faced attempts to keep her out of Bangladesh on charges of having made provocative statements aimed at causing public disorder. The exercise also included an arrest warrant on charges of murder.

The warrant was suspended within days, the ban against her returning home lifted, but, upon return, she was placed under house arrest. The Anti-Corruption Commission demanded she provided details of her assets. Foreign nations – especially the United Kingdom – where one of her nephews is a Member of Parliament, witnessed well attended protest rallies against her incarceration. Soon, courts suspended the trials and granted her bail.

In January 2008, a similar exercise followed against Hasina along with her sibling Sheikh Rehana and a cousin Sheikh Salim.

As had happened earlier, appellate courts flung the charges out and exonerated Hasina and the other accused.

Hasina went abroad to be treated for hearing impairment, eye problems and high blood pressure – said to have been aggravated during incarceration. Hasina returned to Bangladesh in late 2008, forged a 14-party grand alliance with the Jatiya Party led by Hussain Muhammad Ershad as a main ally. The ruling coalition led by Hasina’s Bangladesh Awami League [BAL] won a two-thirds majority in 2008. Her main opponent Begum Khaleda Zia rejected the results citing wholesale fraud and rigging. 

Hasina had survived military coup attempts in 2009 and 2012. On both occasions, rumours have it that India’s intelligence apparatus had saved her.

For reasons best known to themselves, the media in India and beyond her borders have turned a Nelson’s Eye towards Hasina’s darker side.

For the sake of clarity – the original questions once again:

Do factual fjords in official and semi-official accounts indicate hidden messages from elements using Islamic terrorism as a tool to spread global mayhem?

Are terrorist groups trying to spoil Bangladesh’s economy which is on the up-and-up by asking all foreign contributing nations to get out by specifically targeting donor nations’ citizens?

Is Pakistan disturbing India’s eastern flank yet again using the opposition parties in Bangladesh that nurse a pathological hatred for India?

Should the warning notes issued by intellectuals in India that point to ISIS entering India in a big way in the wake of the Dhaka incident be taken more seriously by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Are Sheikh Hasina’s lofty speeches to curb terrorism in Bangladesh hiding something else altogether?

Are several suspiciously hidden facts the causes for the vehement denial by Bangladesh of the ISIS hand in the Dhaka terrorist incident?

Is Sheikh Hasina playing to the gallery in India by shifting blame on Pakistan and worse, is Pakistan taking advantage of the murky situation by playing up the fears of Islamic fundamentalists in Bangladesh?

From the facts narrated above, the possible answers to all the queries ought to be in the affirmative.

In such a scenario, India has a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about the goings on within the borders of her eastern neighbour – Bangladesh.

Not a single portion of the Dhaka terrorist incident conforms to the established pattern of the ISIS or ISI-led Al Qaeda – both of which are active in India and elsewhere in the world.

According to independent international media outlets, the slain ‘terrorists’ did not seem like terrorists at all and more in common with the victims.

The needlessly brutal killings of a huge number of foreigners in a diplomatic enclave points to the possibility of Sheikh Hasina’s regime trying to create a smokescreen to hide its hideous acts of religious minorities being brazenly slaughtered.

All these only throw up only 2 possibilities.

Sheikh Hasina could be playing to the Indian galleries, feeding on inherent fears against ISIS and ISI and using it to the hilt to hide her government’s faults.

The second possibility is more sinister in nature.

It could be possible that the Hasina regime is telling the truth. If that is so, Pakistan’s ISI could have hatched an elaborate plan to create a diversion in India’s eastern flank to foment trouble in the already troubled eastern border states of India that is Bharat.

The verdict:

On those counts, India has to be extremely careful and watchful. Else, the denizens of Bharat may be in for a very, very nasty surprise.

West Bengal has become a cauldron of frenzied, violent, Islamic fundamentalist bomb-making activity and its offshoots in the form of communal clashes.

Pakistan could be planning something big in the state of Assam where the Bharatiya Janata Party won an unexpected majority during the recently held assembly elections. The mayhem could also take place anywhere in India, as it has in the past. Many of India’s cities has a huge section of illegal Bangladeshi migrants. One of them is the city of Mumbai – India’s financial capital. The intruders reside close to the seafront – mostly controlled by international terrorist fugitive Dawood Ibrahim.

Author: haritsv

42 years' unblemished record of being an investigative journalist. Print quality journalist in 3 languages - English, Tamil, Hindi. Widely travelled, worldwide. Cantankerous and completely honest.

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