A Battered Business

Mohammad Zainal Abedin:  The international community dismayingly watched how the Bangladeshis denounced the recent visit of Indian PM (Prime Minister) Noranda Modi to Bangladesh on the 50th anniversary of its independence.  Though Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh was under the cover of unprecedented security carpet, his visit was marred by huge demonstrations of thousands of common people along the streets chanting anti-Modi and anti-India slogans.

Various parties and groups since Modi enacted anti-Bangladesh and anti-Muslim laws in 2019, expressed their determination not to allow him to leg in Bangladesh. So, Modi had to consume humiliating experience in Bangladesh.

Independent analysts of Dhaka, opined Indian intelligence agencies manipulated the bloody demonstration during Modi’s visit to implement at least four visions, viz.

(1)            To show the western democracies, particularly America, that Bangladesh is still beset with the Islamic fundamentalism, so it needs to be kept isolated.

(2)            To create anti-Muslim sentiment among the Hindus, as a Hindu mandir was attack during the staged demonstration.

(3)            To scare Sheikh Hasina so that she takes shelter under India shadow, and

(4)            To incite Sheikh Hasina to crush the Muslims further.

Let us see how Indian media projected Modi’s unwelcome visit to Bangladesh. An online paper acknowledged: “— the visit was overshadowed by violent protests in the capital, Dhaka, and elsewhere.”

The oldest Bengali daily of Kolkata ‘Anandabazar Patrika’ (April 3, 2021) opined massive unrest, conflicts, tussles, violence added a black stigma with Modi’s tour to Bangladesh.

It said, extremist Islamic groups who had already branded Modi as anti-Muslim element, angered them further when they learnt that Modi decided to attend at the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

Indian National Herald informed; thousands of protesters who had gathered outside Dhaka’s Baitul Mokarram mosque after the Friday prayers (March 26, 2021). Protests held across Bangladesh accused Modi of stoking religious tensions and persecuting Muslims in India. They even slammed Modi for “killing Muslims in Gujarat, Kashmir, Delhi and other parts of India”.

“People are angry with Modi as his government has passed several laws which make Muslims a second-class citizen in India.”

Bangladeshis are also cut up with Modi for his showing of big brotherly attitude. People allege that Bangladesh is yet to receive its fair share of Teesta water and that their rivers, ports, the Sundarbans are “all victims of Indian aggression”. They also accuse India of interfering in Bangladesh’s internal politics.

Foez Ullah, president of the Bangladesh Students’ Union, said “Modi’s policies go against the basic tenets of Bangladesh’s founding principles.”

Still Modi wanted to win the heart of the Bangladeshis claiming in his address that he was arrested and jailed for supporting the Liberation War of Bangladesh, though his claim irked controversy and condemnation even in India.

His contention was discarded by Indians. Khagenda Nath Adhikary, the former Principal of South City College, Kolkata, branded PM (Prime Minister) Modi’s speech in Dhaka centering the Bangladesh Liberation War as “entirely false”. During a telephonic conversation and later in a letter (written in Bengali) he condemned Modi for lying.

The left-leaning Principal recollecting his memory said, in the early seventies BJP leaders, including Modi, of today were the activists of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. During the Bangladesh-Pakistan War Jana Sangh leaned to America and China and technically supported Pakistan.

Prof. Adhikary expressing his dismay said, how Modi standing in Dhaka could utter such a blunt lie. “Whatever words, letters Modi uttered in Dhaka centering Bangladesh Liberation War were entirely lies,” he informed.

“So, it is not true that Modi was arrested or jailed for supporting the Bangladesh War of Liberation,” Principal Adhikary informed and added when it was rumored that America’s seventh fleet was heading to the Bay of Bengal in support of Pakistan Modi and his party Jana Sangh went to the “street greeting American decision and demanded not to involve in the internal affairs of Pakistan.”

“Indira Gandhi government considering the pro-fleet show of Atal Bihari Bajpayee and his followers, including Modi, as anti-nationalist and anti-humanist act, arrested and jailed Modi and some others,” this aged Principal informed and added, “So Modi was arrested for committing crime, but not for supporting Bangladesh Liberation War.”

“I am stumbled upon my thoughts, how Modi, being a PM, could upset and distort his own role and history, and bid to bury his fault,” Principal Adhikary opined.

Salil Tripathi, who wrote for ‘Daily Star’ of Bangladesh uncovered the duplicities that Modi played. He wrote Modi’s visit on Indian media, you would see images of him visiting the Matua community and the Hindu temple in Orakandi, a move intended to sway votes in the ongoing elections in West Bengal. Few Indian media outlets spoke of the demonstrations against Modi’s visit or the deaths of several demonstrators. (India’s) pro-government networks will play up the Hefajat demonstrations and reports of attacks on Hindu temples since his visit, achieving the twin governmental objectives of arousing sympathy in India for Hindus in Bangladesh and offering the incidents as evidence why India’s new rules  (ousting the Muslims from India) are needed, which grant fast-tracked citizenship to asylum seekers from neighboring countries who are from religious minorities.

I mentioned earlier quoting the independent analysts of Dhaka, who opined Indian agencies manipulated the bloody demonstration centering Modi’s visit. Some of the agents might have scared her saying such mob might unseat her. So, PM Hasian without delay should take precautionary measures.

 Their assumption came true, as within hours of Modi’s departure from Bangladesh, Indian military delegation reached Dhaka.  One Shahid Islam in his Facebook status branded such a speedy arrival of Indian military party as “something more ominous and pre-planned.” He referring the source wrote,

“A high-powered delegation from the Indian military arrived at Dhaka on March 29 to coordinate something that remains a top secret.”

The Indian military delegation included the DG of the Border Road Organization (BRO), Lt. Gen. Rajiv Chowdhury; DDG Eastern Headquarters, Brig. Gen. Birender Singh; Ajoy Kumar Misra, director of planning, BRO; and, Rahul Mahon, an undersecretary for the ministry of defense.

Analysts believe, as Delhi watched the unfolding of events in Bangladesh in the wake of Modi’s visit — hundreds of thousands of people daily chanted slogans along the streets against Modi and his arrival to Dhaka.  Delhi, virtually, took the gravest risk to send Modi anyway, to get some of the last deals signed with the Hasina regime that seemed getting wobbly and prone to a collapse.

Shahid Islam disclosed the clandestine reason of Modi’s visit saying, “An exhaustive plan was chalked out while Modi was in Dhaka to save the Hasina regime by using the army command internally, and the Indian military help from without, if needed.”

Modi’s right-hand Amit Shah, addressing an election gathering in Bengal (W. Bengal) said, he knows how to do business (i.e., fetch profit). Modi’s visit to Bangladesh was not also without profit, as it went entirely in favor of India, at the cost of the very foundation of Bangladesh. Indians persuade PM Hasina that it needs to show to all parties that India remains behind Hasina like a rock.

Military analysts apprehend the presence of Indian army may be suicidal for Bangladesh. “It is just battered business, Indian army will ensure the longevity of the government, but they will keep Bangladesh under their occupation. *

Mohammad Zainal Abedin is a Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher.

Date: April 8, 2021

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