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  • Ban on Jamaat may not affect political fortunes of the BNP

    The court verdict has made Jamaat’s political future uncertain but it will continue to indulge in political activities and campaign for the BNP candidates in the forthcoming elections.

    August 05, 2013

    Shiv asked: What should be the response of India towards ongoing violence in Bangladesh?

    Anand Kumar replies: While the violence in Bangladesh unleashed by the Islamist forces in the wake of war crime trials is ominous, there is little that the government of India can do. This is purely an internal affair of Bangladesh. However, what happens in that country will also have some impact on India sooner or later. Probably, India can help the Bangladesh Government in projecting the right perception about the international war crime tribunals. There is a feeling in the West that these tribunals are not fair and are being used as a tool of political vendetta. However, this is completely untrue and the war crime trials being conducted by the country would help it to remain moderate.

    Bangladesh: Punish War Criminals but Maintain Law and Order

    The war crime trials should be taken to their logical conclusion to create a precedent that will discourage the extremist and radical elements. But the government must also act swiftly to maintain law and order so that the situation is not used by extra-constitutional forces to thwart the whole exercise.

    March 21, 2013

    The War Crimes Trial and Forthcoming Elections in Bangladesh

    Even as it stands firm on the issue of proceeding with the war crimes trials, the Awami League government should not make the mistake of going for an election without the participation of the main opposition BNP.

    March 18, 2013

    Aftermath of Salman Khurshid’s Visit to Bangladesh: A Role for West Bengal Too

    India should grasp the opportunities which are discernible in the political horizon in Bangladesh and deepen relations through engagement at the track two tier involving India’s political parties as well as by involving West Bengal as a major partner.

    February 20, 2013

    Bangladesh War Crime Trial: The Surprise Second Verdict

    The verdict against Abdul Quadir Molla by the War Crime Tribunal 2, which sentenced him to life, came as a surprise to many given the graveness of his crime.

    February 12, 2013

    Prosecution of War Criminals in Bangladesh: The Verdict Starts Coming

    Punishing war criminals would not only meet a long-standing demand of Bangladesh’s freedom-fighters but also take the country further on the path of secularism.

    January 22, 2013

    Brinkmanship over the Padma Bridge

    The World Bank’s decision to withhold funding for the Padma Bridge embarrassed a government that has been doing reasonable work especially in checking extremism at a time when radicalism is sweeping many parts of the world.

    October 19, 2012

    Return from the Precipice: Bangladesh’s Fight Against Terrorism

    Return from the Precipice: Bangladesh’s Fight Against Terrorism
    • Publisher: Pentagon Security International

    The image of Bangladesh of being a ‘moderate Muslim country’ was tarnished at the turn of the 20th century. The country known for its Sufi Islam was witnessing a spurt of Islamic radicalism. While delineating the threat posed by Islamic radicalism to Bangladeshi politics and by Indian insurgent groups to Northeast India, the book also focuses on their sources of finance. This book marks an advance over other works on the same topic as it discusses the actions taken by the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government to counter terrorism.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-697-8,
    • Price: ₹. 595/-
    • E-copy available

    Aravind asked: How can India justify its intervention in Bangladesh in 1971 when India was following a non-interventionist policy?

    P.K. Gautam and Keerthi Sampath Kumar reply: We give below one account on the justification of the 1971 war and creation of Bangladesh.

    The trouble began when the Pakistani Army on March 25, 1971, in complete disregard of the mandate of 1970 general election, launched a brutal crackdown on the civilians in East Pakistan which subsequently led to an insurgency. From March/April 1971, refugees started pouring into India and a situation was reached where it was not economically possible for India to continue to host about 10 million of them. Handling refugees and facing the ire of Washington which openly supported Pakistan, India was in a very precarious position. India had deep apprehensions concerning a long- drawn guerrilla war in East Pakistan with even pro- Chinese influence at a later date if it got protracted. India negotiated the friendship treaty with the then Soviet Union in August and undertook an extensive diplomatic-cum-political campaign to impress upon individual countries on the realities of the situation. The regional stability also was getting worst. Thus, it was in India’ national interest to get over the problem on grounds of humanitarian intervention. Pakistan launched an attack on the Western sector on December 3, 1971.

    Based on the legitimacy of self-defence, India undertook military action. While holding out in the Western sector, the Indian armed forces conducted combined operations with the freedom fighters or the Mukti Bahini and in a quick and decisive way ended the campaign in two weeks time with the surrender of Pakistan’s military in Bangladesh. The war also had the support of the people of India as there was a moral outrage and public sympathy in civil society including that of the French philosopher André Malraux and Seán MacBride of Ireland. Employing excellent diplomatic skills and negotiation strategy, India overcame a number of hurdles in the politics of the UN system during all stages. After the surrender of Pakistani troops, India did not allow UN’s role to be thrust upon it. India favoured only direct negotiations between itself, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It needs to be remembered that India never took undue advantage of over 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war including civilians who were repatriated unilaterally after the Simla Agreement of 1972. According to the Indian tradition, the war was a dharmavijay (just war). In other words, it was jus ad bellum (the justice of resort to war) and its conduct jus in bello (the justice of the conduct of war).

    However historical memory should not lead to an unending bitterness. Issues such as war crimes and trial of guilty members of the Pakistan Army are still pending in Bangladesh. Justice also is due in view of continued ill treatment of innocent Biharis in Bangladesh who may have not sided with the Pakistan Army. Some Pakistanis due to one-sided perceptions may still carry a grudge and wish for revenge against India. Time has come for India not to rejoice crudely over its military success but now to seek better relations. That war was 41 years ago and violent conflict is unlikely to resolve issues in the present age.