Contentious politics plays role in Bangladesh jihadist resurgence: ICG
International Crisis Group today warned that Bangladesh’s “contentious national politics have played a role in enabling the jihadist resurgence”.
“Political polarisation has contributed to the growth of militancy in less direct ways, too,” ICG, an independent organisation working to prevent wars and shape policies, said in a report released today.
The report titled “Countering Jihadist Militancy in Bangladesh” said that there is a growing risk that Islamist militants will exploit the fallout created by political polarisation with the general elections approaching.
It also said that the lull in violence in recent months ‘may prove as a temporary respite’.
“With elections approaching in December, politics could become even more toxic. The government’s continued marginalisation of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and its forcing underground of opponents like Jamaat-e-Islami, risk sapping resources from efforts to disrupt jihadists,” the report read.
The next parliamentary election is set to be held end of this year. The BNP has been alleging that the government is trying to hold a lopsided election like January 5, 2014.
According to ICG, “Bangladeshi jihadi landscape is now dominated by banned outfits, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB and Ansar al-Islam.”
The ICG report says a faction of the JMB appears to have links with the Islamic State and describes Ansar al-Islam as affiliated with al-Qaeda’s South Asian chapter.
“Attacks since 2013 have targeted secular activists, intellectuals and foreigners, as well as religious and sectarian minorities.” it read.
On the jailing of the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in graft case, the organisation said it signals the opening salvo of a new wave of political infighting reminiscent of January 2014 and 2015.
ICG urged the government to forge broad social and political consensus and pressed for pursuing more accountability in law enforcement and justice system as well as stopping politically-motivated crackdowns.