The Awami League came to power and saved Bangladesh from the radicals, who wanted to destroy peaceful living, said Major General Gaganjit Singh, former deputy director general of India's Defence Intelligence Agency as he recalled the 2004 10-truck arms and ammunition haul in Chattogram.
He claimed that the arms supply was done through the BNP and Jamaat alliance with the support of Pakistan.
“I have made it clear that BNP and Jamaat as a government and a political coalition were thoroughly involved in planning the illegal import of such a huge consignment of weapons. Tarique Rahman, and his close aides were very much at the heart of the plans and intelligence officials like Abdur Rahim and Rezakul Haider Choudhury, to execute the plans,” he told Bangladesh Post on Friday.
The police and Coast Guard interrupted on April 1 in 2004 the loading of materials in the smuggling incident. They seized ten truckloads of material: a total of 4,930 different types of sophisticated firearms; 27,020 grenades; 840 rocket launchers, 300 rockets, 2,000 grenade launching tubes; 6,392 magazines; and 1,140,520 bullets, which were being loaded on ten trucks from two-engine boats at the jetty of CUFL at Chattogram harbour.
The former Indian intel officer said the weapons were meant for ULFA and possibly some Bangladesh terror groups which were already attacking and killing Awami League leaders and pro-1971 elements.
He said Awami League fought for freedom of their motherland and large numbers sacrificed their lives for freedom.
“To counter the Awami League, Pakistan promoted the BNP and gave all the support. BNP came in power with the help of Pakistan and promoted Jamaat, a radical to counter AL supporters. Pakistan, especially the Army could and have not forgotten 1971. Pakistan always wanted to damage the peaceful atmosphere of India and the easy way out was to support insurgent organisation's of Northeast of India.
“Under BNP, Bangladesh became safe havens for the Indian Northeast insurgent groups. They got all the support,” he said.
“Leaders were staying in Dhaka in the areas which had security cover. What does this show-- BNP leadership and Jamaat with the help of Pakistan were giving complete support to insurgents? Paresh Barua was a VIP in those days.
“The plan of smuggling such a large quantity of arms cannot be without the support of Pakistan. Pakistan, the BNP government and Jammat all were behind in this operation. A meeting held in a hotel of Chattogram which was attended by Paresh, BNP, Jamaat and Syed Sallaudin is a clear indicator of this nexus,” he said.
“Paresh was the main coordinator to organise, distribute and use these arms. Ten trucks load of arms, imagine if had not been countered, what devastating damage could have taken place in days to come. Thanks to media and Indian intelligence effectiveness that the then Bangladesh government was forced to stop it going in the wrong hands,” Gaganjit Singh said.
“Awami League leadership handed over Indian insurgent groups leaders to India and this shows the peaceful policy of AL leadership. Now it is to the public of Bangladesh to realise who will give them long lasting peace and progress,” he said.
“You cannot change the psychology of BNP and Jamaat and Pakistan will not let them change and will wait for change in Bangladesh to take place. So, people of Bangladesh should be careful of it,” he said.