Another Anti-India Expose of BNP-Jamaat

The supplementary chargesheet filed last Sunday, in the sensational Chittagong arms haul case, has once again brought to the fore the anti-India activities of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami combine. That’s of course nothing unnatural given the fact that Jamaat comprises mostly of anti-independence elements, who had wholeheartedly sided with the then West Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

For records, arms and ammunition equivalent to ten truckloads were seized at the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) at the port city, in the wee hours of 2 April, 2004. The arms, manufactured in the Chinese company Norinco, were set for India for the use of the separatist outfit United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa). The consignment contained 150 rocket launchers, over a million rounds of ammunition, 2,000 grenade launchers, 840 rockets, 25,000 grenades and over 1,600 assorted assault rifles. It was the largest arms haul ever in Bangladesh.

The supplementary chargesheet names 11 new accused in the case, besides the 25 already named in two earlier chargesheets. The new accused include former minister of state for home and BNP leader Lutfozzaman Babar, the then industries minister and Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, senior Ulfa leader Paresh Barua, the then Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) director Maj Gen (Retd) Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury and former National Security Intelligence (NSI) director Brig Gen (Retd) Abdur Rahim. Chowdhury was later appointed the DG of NSI.

It’s widely alleged, though never conclusively proven, that Nizami had personally supervised the unloading of the arms at the CUFL jetty which was under his ministry’s jurisdiction. A minister, personally intervening in the transportation of arms for the purpose of carrying out insurgent activities in a neighbouring country, was hitherto unprecedented in South Asia.

The BNP-led four party coalition, were in power for two terms i.e. 1996-2001 and 2001-2006. The 2006 general election in Bangladesh was replete with widespread rigging, violence and torture on minority communities. No wonder that the during the 10-year tenure of the BNP-Jamaat coalition, Indo-Bangla relations had reached its nadir. New Delhi was viewed by the coalition as an imperialist force, out to extract its pound of flesh for having won a decisive victory for Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) in 1971. 

The supplementary chargesheet to the Chittagong arms haul case amply proves the fact that top-ranking government officials and senior BNP and Jamaat leaders were hand-in-gloves with separatist and insurgent groups of India. No wonder that insurgency in the North East peaked during BNP’s tenure in power. Bangladesh, for long had patronised insurgency in the North East and had provided safe haven to activists of many rebel groups.

Awami League, ever since assuming power in 2008, has tried to mend ways with India. It has handed over New Delhi key separatist leaders including Arabinda Rajkhowa, founder chairman, Ulfa and Ranjan Daimary, chief, National Democratic Front of Bodoland. It has also taken proactive steps to stop anti-India activities from Bangladesh soil. However, much needs to be done as several banned militant outfits like HuJI-B and Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, continue to operate in the country.

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