SUICIDE bombers belonging to the Jamaatul Muhahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) have struck again. This time it was Netrokona. Most of the dead and injured from the carnage were common men who gathered to see the detonation of a bomb left by the JMB cadres earlier in front of the district office of the Udichi, a cultural outfit. According to eyewitnesses' account, a suicide bomber riding a bicycle ploughed through a curious crowd, killing at least seven people and injuring many more.
The off-again and on-again bomb attacks by the Islami Jihadis have posed a serious threat not only to public safety and security but also to normal economic activities. Various segments of industries and business have started reporting the crippling effect of the rising militancy on production and marketing of goods. The value of the goods exported in the months following the August 17 countrywide bombings marked a decline. The wholesale traders in Dhaka have reported that the number of businessmen coming from outside districts to their markets has fallen drastically. The stock market -- which is considered to be one of the barometers for gauging of the situation -- is bearing the brunt of the poor security situation across the country. Expect for a single day, the prices of most shares declined throughout the last business week. The erosion in share prices may continue if the authorities fail to show some results in nabbing the masterminds of the bomb attacks. But how far will the government be successful in doing that?
The latest action of the militants at Netrokona points to the fact that they are desperate to create instability in the country and establishment of Islamic rule or law is not their real aim. The militants should not have targeted the common men had they been motivated even by religious extremism. The government, apparently, is losing its grip on the situation due to the failure of the law enforcing and intelligence agencies to nab the masterminds of the so-called Islami Jihadis. The helplessness of the administration would surely remind the people of old adage, 'A stitch in time saves nine'. There had been no dearth of advice from various quarters, including the media, to tackle the religious militancy at its budding stage. The government was complacent and decided not to see, speak and hear any evil. And when the nation is paying a heavy price, the government is groping in the darkness so far as finding the masterminds of militancy is concerned.
A section of the ruling party is in a state of confusion and panic with the spread of militancy. Such an attitude would make the people more panicky. The government must act with total determination to crash the militancy with an iron hand. It needs to do what the situation demands of it without being disturbed by what its adversaries are telling outside. The ruling political authority should compensate for its previous lapses through determined actions. Meanwhile, the government and its political opposition need to stop the blame game over 'dialogue' since the people do not anymore enjoy their irritating and meaningless exercises. The militancy has posed a real danger to the normal life and living of the people who earnestly desire that their political leaders across the divide would find a solution to the problem that, if it remains unresolved, would spare none. In this task, the entire population, barring a few renegades, would be with them in rooting out terrorism, religious or otherwise.