by Ahmad Shihab 25 October 2021
Subramanian Swamy, a veteran lawmaker belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India, once again demanded his country to invade Bangladesh and occupy it. He made the demand first in 2011 and kept hammering it in the floor of the parliament, as well as outside it. (http://southasiajournal.net/india-bjp-lawmaker-india-should-invade-bangladesh/)
Technically, India controls every aspect of Bangladesh through its protege Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since January 2009. Hundreds of operatives of the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), India’s external intelligence agency, in the country ensure implementation of New Delhi’s agenda.
The latest round of Swamy’s rhetoric to annex Bangladesh came in the wake of a recent sectarian disturbance created by vested groups. On October 13, 2021, someone placed the Quran, Muslims’ holy book, at the foot of a deity at a Hindu temple in Comilla, an eastern district. When the picture and the news went viral, devout Muslims all over the country were outraged at the desecration of their holy book. A few Hindus and Muslims became victims of mutual attacks, as well as from police firing.
According to most analysts, the incident was orchestrated at the official level to generate an artificial sectarian issue. Bangladesh otherwise enjoys general social harmony and peaceful cohabitation among its various ethnic and faith groups. This had been acknowledged even by a few prominent Indian Congress leaders. This make-belief Hindu-Muslim rift is created to score a few political objectives by the fascist regime:
- A Diversion Tactic. The country is already in the grip of serious problems. Democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law evaporated with the installation of the India-sponsored Sheikh Hasina regime through a fraudulent election in 2008. She stuck to her position illegally by defrauding the subsequent elections. The common people are suffering due to the steep rise in the prices of daily essentials. They can hardly speak due to various draconian laws but their suppressed anger is evident. They can explode any moment.
- Blame Opposition. All political troubles in the country, including the present self-created Hindu-Muslim issue, are always ascribed to the mainstream opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islam (JI) so that the government forces can find pretexts to swoop on the already crushed opposition.
- Check Fundamentalism. Such sectarian issues are stage-managed from time to time with a view to mischievously demonstrating to those willing to note, and be pleased to know, that the AL regime is successfully fighting, otherwise non-existent, fundamentalism in the country. In a country of about 90% Muslims, people are expected to be religious and god-fearing, but Bangladeshi Muslims are not generally fanatics, unless provoked.
It may also be noted that such self-satisfying sectarian troubles are found only during the AL administration. At other times, there was hardly any Hindu-Muslim disharmony. Most investigations on such incidents revealed the involvement of people having links with the Awami League. In other words, these are deliberately generated for malafide intents. Under fresh pressing issues, the people soon forget them. And the culprits go scott free, sometimes with rewards.
Indian Prime Minister and His Fundamentalism
That Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a fundamentalist and Muslim hater is well known. He was blamed for the massacre of some 2000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when he was the Chief Minister of the state. The US had blacklisted him after the tragedy. Modi was also largely responsible for the conversion of the Muslim Babri Mosque into a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2018, he annexed the Muslim State of Kashmir defying the UN Charter. Next year, he enacted the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), Indian Population Register (NPR), and other laws aimed at denying citizenship to millions of Muslims living in India for decades and centuries. Former President Donald Trump, a friend of Modi, witnessed firsthand the resulting Hindu-Muslim riots during his visit to the Indian capital in February 2020.
Indian Army movements in Hyderabad during the Operation Polo
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru committed a genocide of a few hundred thousand Muslims and annexed Hyderabad in 1948. He also forcibly annexed Junagarh and few other nearby principalities who wanted to join Pakistan. The Indian-Occupied Kashmir is the most militarized zone in the world. More than 100,000 people became victims of military actions there. The situation in India’s seven northeastern states is similar. People of those seven states, known as Seven Sisters, continue to groan under the Indian military brutalities.
Indian Hegemony in Bangladesh
India had a greedy eye on its eastern bordering country since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. It needed Bangladesh for easy accessibility to its troublesome Seven Sisters in the northeast. The pro-Indian Bangladesh Awami League (AL), first led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the post-liberation Bangladesh, and then by his daughter Sheikh Hasina (since 1981), collaborated with the big neighbor and depended on it for its survival.
At the advice of the New Delhi’s Chanakyas, the present AL used the Islamist card to woo the West at a time when it developed an apathy for Islamic fundamentalism. (In fact, some analysts thought that 9/11 was staged to generate that apathy and demolish the growth of Islam). Under close stewardship of the RAW, Sheikh Hasina played the card to convince the US, the UN and other Western countries that if her secular AL did not take over Bangladesh, the country would turn into an Islamist entity. With Indian diplomatic clout, the West swallowed the bait. The December 2008 election was manipulated to make AL the winner. The rest is history. Bangladesh saw the end of democracy, freedom and human rights, and of course, the growth of sectarian troubles. Even a street urchin in Dhaka knows that the country is run by remote control from New Delhi.
Modi Fundamentalism Emboldened by US Collaboration
The US entered into various strategic collaborations with India, both bilaterally and multi-laterally through QUAD, against China. It is doubtful if such political undertakings against China will work without taking into account the global reality. However, in the process, the US seemed to have exonerated Modi’s past misdeeds and human rights abuses in one hand, and emboldened his hands to be more ruthless in suppressing democracy and violation of human rights in his own country and Indian vassal state Bangladesh. It is of utmost tragedy that the cries of the victims do not seem to reach Washington, despite the powerful nation’s repeated promises and commitments to uphold the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom, rule of law, election security and anti-authoritarianism.
Writer is democracy and human rights activist. He published a number of books.