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'Bangladesh new center of Islamic terrorism'

The jehadi network in that country could prove more dangerous to India than the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, says a book.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 10:50 IST

Bangladesh has emerged as a new center of "Islamic terrorism" and the jehadi network in that country could prove more dangerous to India than the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, says a new book.

"Bangladesh, under the present regime, is fast becoming the new epicentre for Islamic terrorism," according to "Global Jihad: Current Patterns and Future Trends", authored by journalist Rajeev Sharma.

"This network is real, and partisan diplomacy and selective anti-terrorism warfare will only let loose this Frankenstein," says Sharma, referring to the attitude of the West towards the emerging trends in Bangladesh.

The book says the jehadi network in Bangladesh directed against India was mushrooming.

"Given the Indian geographical region the network is targeting, it could be far more dangerous than the Kashmir insurgency."

The book says that the Bangladesh jehadi outfits, enjoying both internal and external patronage, were working for multiple thrusts into India.

The Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami Bangladesh (HUJAI-BD), which the book says is a branch of the Pakistani HUJAI, reportedly declared its intention sometime ago.

The main aim of HUJAI is to bring about an Islamic revolution in Bangladesh on the Afghan-Taliban pattern with the greater objective of achieving international Islamic brotherhood in the South Asian sub-continent.

"They aim to create pockets (of unrest) in Assam, Manipur, West Bengal and (Jammu and) Kashmir in India. The Arakans in Myanmar is another target area."

The author says that terrorists in Bangladesh "patronized by Prime Minister Kahelda Zia must be addressed by the international community".

Saying that Pakistani and Bangladeshi intelligence work closely, the book says that the terror operations from Bangladesh were "targeted at a larger area in India ... to create an unstable situation in the greater India heartland".

The book cites intelligence reports as saying that more and more consignments of arms were arriving in Bangladesh exclusively for the use of Islamic fundamentalist groups in that country.

The author says that there is a strong correlation between rising Islamic radicalism and eroding secularism in Bangladesh, raising questions if it was moving away from moderate Islam.

The book says Bangladesh is home to 64,000 Islamic seminaries. While the Aliya madrassas largely follow a contemporary educational format, the Deobandi ones, which outnumber the former, follow the more traditional Islamic studies.

"The rising spread of the Deobandi form of education has found manifestations in Bangladesh's polity and can be gauged from the growing influence of (Jamaat-e-Islami) in the country's political firmament."

First Published: May 02, 2006 10:50 IST