Bangladesh bristles at Indian charges that it harbours terrorists


Dhaka : While condemning the serial blasts in India’s Assam state, which claimed 77 lives and left over 300 injured, as a “cowardly act of terrorism”, the Bangladesh government is bristling at the Indian charge that the blasts were the handiwork of Harkat-ul Jehad-i Islami (HuJI) militants based in this country.

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Assam was rocked by a wave of bombings Thursday – 12 blasts in quick succession – six in Guwahati, and six in the three western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon.

Indian government agencies have alleged that banned Islamist organisations based in Bangladesh have been coordinating acts of violence with their modules in India, but Bangladesh has denied it.

Dhaka also denies Delhi’s charge that scores of militants from the Indian northeastern region are operating from safe havens in Bangladesh and have also made investments in business and industry.

“Unfortunately, whenever a bomb blast took place in India, more often than not, an Indian state government, even the central government, had not hesitated to point finger to one Bangladeshi outfit or the other. Such comments were not substantiated later, or were not found to be true. They are neither helpful to good neighbourly relations nor to any effort to track down the real culprits,” the Daily Star newspaper said Saturday.

“If India could come out with any concrete evidence of a cross-border linkage, it should by all means have come forward and shared it with Bangladesh government rather than foisting unsubstantiated blame.

“If, however, there are fresh and substantive new evidence of any cross-border link between terrorists, such evidence should be presented to our government for appropriate action. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to fight terrorism at the intra-country and inter-country levels,” it added.

“Violence cannot be a tool for achievement of political objectives,” Bangladesh foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said in a statement issued here Friday.

BSS, the country’s official news agency, quoted Chowdhury as saying that “Bangladeshis stand firmly beside their Indian neighbours at this sad hour”.

“This is terrorism at our doorsteps,” said the Daily Star in a hard-hitting editorial, pointing out that Bangladesh too was having to fight militancy at home and needed to raise its guard.

The English language newspaper endorsed action against terrorism under the aegis of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as many nations in the region were experiencing militancy in different forms.

“Naturally, that is a matter of concern for us. Besides, we have had to deal with militant threats of our own. Bangladesh is fully committed to fighting terrorism in all forms.

“We ardently believe in the efficacy of interstate cooperation within the umbrella of SAARC to wage effective battles against overt and covert militancy that has increasingly taken on cross-border, international dimensions,” the editorial said.