Arrests of J-e-M terrorists
RECENT arrest of several members of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group is very disconcerting indeed. This is the second instance where foreign terrorist organisation members have been apprehended in Bangladesh.
What one can glean from reports so far, the foreign operative was using Bangladesh as a base to conduct terrorist operation in neighbouring countries and to that end he had recruited Bangladeshi nationals. Although four have been arrested in the swoop, one is not sure how many there are in all in the group. Reportedly, one among the arrested is a veteran terrorist, having served long prison term in India for his involvement in the highjacking of an Indian aircraft.
The arrests confirm a very unpleasant fact that Bangladesh has become an unwitting but easy host to terrorist groups operating in the region. The J-e-M has gained notoriety for attacks on important establishments in India; it works hand-in-glove with the Lashkar-e-Toiba, another very dangerous terrorist outfit.
It also confirms the fact that we have very poor intelligence network or database and that there is little cooperation regionally whatsoever, insofar as combating terrorism is concerned. The fact that one of the arrested, who had served term in prison in India, fled back to Bangladesh after being released recently from prison is testimony to that. Had that not been so, such a person should have been handed over to Bangladesh after release and tagged by the security agencies here and kept under strict watch. In this case, apparently, he was free to rejoin a proscribed terrorist group.
Although the law enforcing agencies must be complimented for a good job done, we call for stricter vigilance because, more likely than not, there are other members who are either acting as sleeper cells or actively engaged in planning terrorist acts, inside or outside the country.
The issue once again reinforces the call for a regional approach to combat the extremists. There is compelling rationale, from what has happened in the recent case, for close interaction amongst the relevant intelligence agencies in the region. Terrorism, whatever maybe their motivations, are common threat to regional peace and stability; and all the countries of the region have suffered the cruelty perpetrated by the terrorists, some more than others. There cannot be a greater compulsion than this for South Asian countries to put their minds and resources together to eliminate the scourge.