The terrorist attack in Sri Lanka killing 259 persons and injuring over 500 is one of the deadliest attack in the recent time. The magnitude of the attack was really vast. In just 20 minutes they completed operation showing their strength against the establishment. It was an attack amply supported by those who are encouraging practice of such kind of terrorist act as like as IS or its equivalent organizations. Although none claimed the responsibility in the first 24 hours the IS now claims its success for launching such operations. It is only said that the operation has been launched in retaliation to the terrorist attack held in two mosques in New Zealand.
But the question is whether IS has further regrouped to commit such aggression in Sri Lanka after being driven out from Iraq and Syria. Many believe that the IS has lost its strength to counteract the US-Syrian attack there, but there are examples that the international terrorist groups sponsored by IS have committed such deadliest attacks in many countries of the world. So they might have a link in the attack on Sri Lanka, but they did not probably directly take part in the operation.
Of course Sri Lanka even from the period when the father of the nation Mr Bandernaik had been ruling the country, terrorism was there and he had been killed by the terrorist. The conflict between Tamil and the Sri Lankans continued for several decades and the people of the country witnessed bloody war then. Even the minority Muslims of Sri Lanka was not living in peace and harmony with the minorities like the Buddhist and the Christians. So still now discontent is prevailing among the different sections of the population of that country and the fatal attack may be a result of such internal discontent.
Of late the attack on the Muslims in New Zealand mosque killing nearly 50 Musalees was an attack to draw the attention of the world. But the New Zealand the Prime Minister has demonstrated almost zero tolerance for that attack and has done beyond her means to bring an end to repetition of such incidents in that country. The approach for reconciliation between the Christian and Muslim is now a burning question in that country. The entire world has lauded her role.
The fact about the terrorist strike in Sri Lanka has not yet been known. It can be assumed that the attack might be some sort of retaliatory measure of the Islamist terrorists following the killing of Muslims in the mosques in New Zealand. With this attack they also tried to give a message to the world that they are capable enough to strike back if necessary.
The kind of recent attacks did go to prove that the IS might have changed its strategy to consolidate its power to engage in a single area. They probably will now be looking for zone or area where local terrorist could be involved to carry out such operations in order to achieve their ideology. Even if the I.S had no direct link with Sri Lankan attack they probably wanted to take credit to show their strength to carry on such attack when required.
Now it has been a great problem for the South Asian countries like India where general election is in operation. India has to think seriously about the attack. Those who want to launch such kind of terrorism sponsored by the militants group may have a design to give a signal to those who are involved in communal politics in India. The attack in Sri Lanka may be a design to help the communal forces in the election as there are religious fanatic to encourage such politics of violence.
The execution of such kind of operation is sponsored by big players who want to destabilize peace in South Asia. So the risk may be high for India and less for country like Bangladesh. The government of India has witnessed different terrorist attacks in its different states. Some of those incidents were committed by communal forces.
In Bangladesh our security
intelligence agencies are very
alert. They have demonstrated
tremendous success to combat
terrorism but there is no scope
to feel self-complacencies
The conflict between the Tamil and Sri Lankans continued for a long time. The entire world is quite aware of it. Probably one of the worst guerilla war was fought by the Tamil. Once there was a feeling that Sri Lanka is going to be divided into two states one to be led by Tamil. But that has been brutally suppressed by the establishment. But it is difficult to accept that the kind insurgency that continued for several decades did die down forever.
So the aftermath of that guerrilla war conducted by the Tamil might erupt in difficult form. Who knows what kind of alliance is there to mobilize different minority groups, the Buddhist, the Christians and the Muslims who are divided among themselves. Such kind of apprehension could not be ruled out.
Although it has been claimed by the IS terrorists for launching the attacks creating massacre in retaliation to the terrorist attack in two mosques in New Zealand there might be some other reasons for such kind of attack in Sri Lanka sponsored by terrorist groups working in unison with the IS in different parts of the globe.
In Bangladesh our security intelligence agencies are very alert. They have demonstrated tremendous success to combat terrorism but there is no scope to feel self-complacencies. Three things are very important at the moment to deal with. One is launching a motivational program to de-radicalize those who have already been radicalized belonging to different segments of the society.
It is the prime responsibility of the government to launch such motivational program in the educational institutions, social organizations and other related institutions. Another one is to take stringent administrative measures to eliminate the dens of terrorist and the third is to remain alert and vigilant against the terrorist threat.
In a country like Bangladesh where communalism, religious fundamentalism and reactionaries are the order of the day, it seems to be a good ground for extremism. The anti-liberation forces along with the forces of reaction have been indulging in terrorism as a part of their political strategy. The religious bigots are helping them. Afghanistan and Pakistan are fertile land for breeding terrorists. Afghanistan has recruited our youths to be terrorists.
Even some of our boys did join the IS in Syria. The incidents of terrorism in Myanmar and persecution and repression by the military Junta on the Rohingyas have compelled them to take shelter in Bangladesh. This has created an alarming situation with grave concern for Bangladesh as extremist organizations may recruit Rohingyas for terrorist acts. Bangladesh is a fast growing developing country. It cannot afford terrorism of any kind on its soil.
We want peace. As a matter of principle for our foreign policy we are committed to peace and we stand against all sorts of terrorism not only in the soil but also in other parts of the globe. We want peace in Asia as we want peace all over the globe.
Terrorism is not an issue that could be successfully dealt with by a single country. Since the issue originates from different groups from different countries a comprehensive joint programme is needed to eradicate its root. The democratic leader of the globe, irrespective of their political belief and petty individual interest seem to be willing to cooperate with each other to combat terrorism. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has supported the cause from the very beginning. Bangladesh has been working whole heartedly with other countries of the globe. Now the other leaders should come forward to do the needful.
S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist