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Concern about Islamist influence in Bangla army

world Updated: Jan 21, 2012 00:19 IST

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A failed plot to oust the Bangladesh government, by what the army described as “religiously fanatic” officers, has raised questions over the level of Islamist penetration in the military, analysts say.

The army — Bangladesh’s key secular institution — said the plot was unearthed in December and involved some non-resident Bangladeshis, around 16 serving and retired officers and the outlawed Islamist outfit Hizbut Tahrir.

A major general, who heads one of the country’s largest cantonments, was recalled to Dhaka, while two former officers including a colonel were arrested.

“I am worried because radical, extremist views within a disciplined and secular force is unexpected,” said Delwar Hossain, a professor of Dhaka University.

“It can have profound implications,” Hossain told AFP.

After news of the failed coup plot was made public Thursday, Hasina’s ruling Awami League party promised that those involved would be “given exemplary punishment”.