Monday, 2 March 2015

The murder of Avijit Roy.

The gruesome murder of Avijit Roy on the streets of Dhaka on the nights of 26th February once again highlights the threat of religious extremism engulfing our neighbourhood.
For those who may not have noticed or ignored the news item , Avijit Roy was a Bangladeshi origin US citizen who has been the founder of the blog
 . He was a secular voice which opposed the religious fundamentalists and terrorists , more of the Islamic terrorists. He was visiting Bangladesh for the launch of a couple of his books at a book fair and was expected to visit Kolkata on the 27th Feb. The killers attacked him and his wife when they were returning from the book fair at around 9 p.m. and hacked him with sharp weapons and maimed his wife , in the most brutal and barbaric manner.

This news is just symptomatic of the situation that is prevailing in Bangladesh . The secular forces there are seen to be slowly losing as the Islamic extremist groups are gaining dominance in the society and the politics . The process had started long back but there has always been a very strong undercurrent of secularism in Bangladesh which was sustained by a nationalist fervour based on the language. Awami league, now headed by Sheikh Hasina , in spite of its many compromises has been the rallying point for the secular forces against the rampaging force of Islamic fundamentalists. And as things stand now , this lady is the last hope that this region has against the Jihadi Islamic variety of extremism .
Indians are busy with their own aspirations , politics, economy, growth,movies, cricket , scandals, swineflu etc. to have time for a world view beyond US and Eupropean perception of our country or our standing enemity with Pakistan and the inferiority complex against China couched in superficial grudging admiration of their system (! ?). We are blissfully oblivious about what is happening in our neighbourhood and not really bothered about anything connected with them unlesss it is a case of Pak intrusion in Kashmir or captive Indian fishermen in SriLanka . Why neighbouring countries , as a national agenda , the North eastern states or even the underdeveloped parts of Eastern india are never discussed . Had Bihar or W Bengal not had so many parliamentary seats ( About 100 , including Jharkhand) one would imagine Indian borders having stopped after Madhya Pradesh on the east , at least on the agenda for development and growth. And this apathy will prove fatal someday for the happy happy nation that is portrayed in the media in tandem with an obliging government and system .
Coming back to the subject matter and putting situations in the context , it is a matter of great concern for Indians as a whole and people with secular and liberal views world over about what is happening in Bangladesh. We all have seen how the Islamic Jihadi forces had taken over Afghanistan and even after being pushed back are active and thriving in Pakistan which for all practical purpose is now governed on paper by a democratic government , operationally by an Army command and on the ground by the dictats of local warlords. The similar story is unfolding in Bangladesh now. In large parts of the country, the Islamic extremists have their writ running large. We are only getting the news emanating from Dhaka where the government crackdown against the Jamaat and BNP is being countered by the extremist forces creating a massive law and order problem on the streets.
Those who think that this is a localised phenomenon and confined within Bangladesh only can be proved horribly wrong if we see what is happening in Africa and West Asia. The ISIS is more in the news because of its advertised brutality which is directed to instill fear into the hearts of people worldwide. Not too far is the Boko Haram with its campaign in Africa which has brought Nigeria and its neighbouring countries on the verge of being taken over . These are the outfits which we hear about and there are many who create mayhem in Somalia , Sudan , Libya, Syria , Iraq and other countries where there is actually no government or currency worth its name. After Al Qaida, Taliban , Chechen (Russia) , Uighur (China) and minor but significant outfits fighting established governments in Malayasia, Indonesia and Phillipines , the clear and impending danger is very real and scary.
The aim and game plan of the Islamic terrorists is to create a situation in Bangladesh where an ISIS / Boko Haram like force rampages through vast swathes of South and Southeast asia to establish their horrible , degrading , brutal, barbaric and medieval rule over a large tract of land. Surprising it may seem to hear, their immediate target will not be India because that would invite the might of the strong Indian army. Rather they would like to control Bangladesh first, then takeover Nepal, Myanmar , Thailand etc. to encircle India. Meanwhile , the North east and Eastern parts of India can be loosened slowly like decaying teeth with infiltration and thereafter thriving on the impoverished population and when the time comes , uprooted . And , meanwhile the proxy war with the Indian state can continue.
The scenario is no doubt scary but what is more frightening is our Ostrich like reaction to it. We have to realise that we are not insulated to whatever is happening around the world and as a nation desirous of becoming a super power , we cannot ignore the reality of our neighbours , just as people living in highrise apartments cannot write off the presence of the slumdwellers in their vicinity. Living in the highrise building may be very comfortable but coming out on the streets for daily living soon becomes the stuff of nightmare when there is a backlash to the continuous neglect .
There is a fire in the neighbourhood. To enjoy it as a spectacle is a downright foolish approach. Remember the case of Tibet being annexed, East Pakistan being trampled , Tamil Eelam in SriLanka being fanned. All had initially been ignored but the fire engulfed us ultimately.

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