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Saturday Feature
Understanding the roots of the terror
Enayet Rasul

          It has taken hundreds of injuries and deaths in three tragic bombing incidents in succession during the last couple of days to drive home the message that the bombers and their organizations can so easily defy the moblised security apparatuses of the state. This is for the simple reason that the ones who detonated the bombs were driven by ideology however warped and sick their minds may appear to normal individuals.
Ideologically commited humans are capable of great sacrifices and the sacrifices can be the most precious of human possessions, i.e. human lives. Thus, the idelogically motivated bombers become almost unstoppable and hence very deadly because persons who have the minimum love for their lives are likely to desist from doing such things considering the high risks to their lives. Liberated from this love of life, the bombers acquire the deadliest capacity to court the highest risks to ensure success of their missions of deaths and destruction.
Therefore, warding off the suicide bombers from the milieu in Bangladesh calls for not only the routine policing or law enforcement actions but attending to other vital things as well. A lasting deliverance from the bomb attacks will call for a much deeper and patient exercise to realise the real urges and motivation of the bombers. The same must be understood with care and sincerity and then acted upon to take the motives away from the minds of the ones who want to commit suicide in the belief that they are embracing martyrdom through their suicidal acts. The bomber dies but he feel justified in his mind that he blew himself up for a cause and that being drawing attention to injustices . The bombers has no reasons to take his own life if the injustices he perceived are not there.
The people in Bangladesh primarily consider the police as the applicator of laws. But in reality, they find most of the time that the police are very corrupt and misuse the powers and authority they enjoy as law enforcers. In this connection, a case of police brutality comes to mind. According to newspaper reports sometime ago, a raped woman who came to a police station to lodge a case against the rapists was locked up by the officer-in-charge (OC) of that station. The woman was told that she must have been immoral herself that encouraged her rapist. Later, the woman was raped by the OC and his colleagues and she was threatened that if she told anybody of the misdeed she would be locked up again for good. It so happened that the rapist had friendly relations with the OC and his associates. Understandably, the woman came from a poor family and hence she had neither the influence or money to sustain in her search for justice. Only when a human rights organization came to know of her travails did she find any hope that she would get some form of legal redress for her humiliation and suffering.
This case is symbolic of what confronts the majority poor in the population in Bangladesh when they attempt to seek legal actions for the crimes commited again them. They have gone on silently bearing this state of affairs but with deep rage. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if some suicide bombers rise from among them out of bitter frustration and the notion that the conventional mechanisms of justice dispensation are useless when it comes to the poor and the weak. In these circumstances, the Jihadis should have no difficulty in finding at least a few very embittered souls or ones totally disillusioned with the prevailing system of justice dispensation and in brain washing them enough that they should die in the way of Allah to pave the way to getting true justice in the country.
There are too many allegations against the legal system of the country. The system allegedly protects the interest of the rich and the powerful . The poor fail in taking even the first steps to get justice because they usually do not have the resources to engage lawyers or bear the many costs of continuing litigation. Then, the judges have been accused in many instances for taking bribes that influenced their verdicts. Even a former President of the country-- who was charged with several corruption cases on losing power-- was blamed for bribing a High Court judge to get off the hook in a particularly serious corruption case .
The poor in the country have been witnesses for long to such charades in the implementation of justice or rather the establishment of injustices in the name of justice. Thus, can they be blamed for questioning whether a fair system of governance operates in the country or whether laws and legality are for the protection of all uniformly in society or whether these are exclusively the preserves of the rich and the powerful ? And it should not be unusual for such deep despairs to produce a few suicide bombers fired by the sense of injustice and their falling prey to the murmurs in their ears by the so called Jihadis.
Taking the wind out of the sails of terrorism, therefore, calls for reforming vital institutions such as the judiciary and the police and also other organs of the state and administration as the first step to changing perceptions in people's minds. The sermons of the Jihadis will fall on deaf ears if some measures of good governance in the country in all respects can be attained. In that case, the bidding of the terror organizers will not appeal so powerfully, as it does now, to the ones who are now blowing themselves up ironically in the name of Islam.
The character, upbringing, education and world view of the young ones are shaped in no small way by their educational institutions. It is noteworthy that the identities of nearly all the suicide bombers-- known so far-found them out to be students of religious institutions. We know that successive governments in Bangladesh have been patronizing this narrow form of education or institutions that help to breed fanatical minds who can be useful cannon fodder for the masterminds of terror organisations. Other Islamic countries-Pakistan and Egypt, for example -- that patronized parochial religious schools and denied liberal education to their pupils, are now bearing the brunt of Islamic militancy. But they could have avoided such a fate by encouraging liberal mainstream education and denying funds and other supports to the exclusive religious schools. Bangladesh should have learnt a lesson from these countries. It didn't and now it is paying the price.
Fighting terrorism of the type that Bangladesh now faces also calls for deeper investigations of its real masterminds. The mode of operations of the various Jihadi organizations, their expertise in making explosives and rearing their operators smoothly through ample finances, do not suggest that they set themselves up spontaneously across the country only with the help of their poor backers in the local population. They must have foreign masterminds who are using the members of the terror organisations as bogeyman to advance their plans of destablising and crippling Bangladesh in all respects - economically, politically and socially. The have their hidden agenda for doing this and this must be known. The foreign conspirators must be identified and people need to be made very aware of their designs.


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