Lessons from the terror attack that killed 20 people in Dhaka

Trouble for Myanmar, Disaster for India and Doom for Bangladesh

Business & Politics

News - Biz@India

July 5, 2016

/ By / New Delhi


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The dastardly attack by Islamic Militants on Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on last Friday killed 20 global citizens. It brings painful lessons for Bangladesh, but also India and Myanmar.

Who were the victims?

Nine of the victims were Italian – Simona Monti, Claudia D’Antona, Marco Tondat, Vincenzo D’Allestro, Nadia Benedetti, Adele Puglisi, Cristian Rossi, Claudio Cappelli and Maria Rivoli. All of them worked in the textile business.

The Japanese victims were engineers and urban planners working for three planning firms based in Tokyo. They were Koyo Ogasawara, Makoto Okamura, Yuko Sakai, Rui Shimodaira, Hideki Hashimoto, and Hiroshi Tanaka, 80, who worked for Oriental Consultants Global.

Three of the victims were students at American universities, who went to high school together in Bangladesh. They were visiting Dhaka for the summer. Abinta Kabir and Faraaz Hossain were Bangladeshi students at Emory University in Atlanta, and Tarishi Jain, was an Indian student at the University of California, Berkeley. Tarishi’s father was from India but he had textile business in Dhaka. All the three were classmates at American School in Dhaka.

The death of these twenty people hit the global headlines. Their throats were slit and were brutally butchered by knives and machetes, in a bloody siege by terrorists of Islamic State.

Painful lessons

There are enough lessons for India and the World from this tragic terror attack.

However, Bangladesh is still reluctant to admit that attackers were home grown militants. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been in denial mode for more than a year on the issue of Islamic State’s presence in her country.

Already, India has been living with Pakistan-sponsored frequent terror attacks on its soil for more than four decades now.

With increasing radical islamisation and emergence of Islamic State that has seen footprints in two continuous neighbours – Bangladesh and Myanmar, can the attack in Dhaka be dismissed lightly by India?

Unlike many militant attacks including the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, all the attackers belonged to affluent backgrounds and had studied in some of Bangladesh’s top schools and colleges.

Take for instance one of the attackers, who was identified as Rohan Imtiaz .He studied at Scholastica, considered be a top English school. His father, Imtiaz Khan, is a politician with Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party.

This only highlights the increasing radicalization of Bangladesh that has accelerated in recent years.

Islamic State recently appointed an ‘Amir’ (military leader) of ‘Khalifa’s soldiers in Bengal’. The ‘Amir’, Shayakh Abu Ibrahim Al Hanif, has vowed that his focus is on the whole of Bengal, which includes the Indian state of West Bengal.

Myanmar has also a sizeable Muslim population. It has been eyed by the Islamic State.

So far 50 Indians have joined IS according to various estimates. No doubt this number is very small given India’s 1.25 5 billion people.

However, India needs to wake-up and pro-actively deal with the IS threat. Because many of the terror modules in Bangladesh are actively prepared, supported and supervised by Pakistani diplomats based in Bangladesh.

If the Islamic State and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, which is country’s powerful establishment, join hand together it will lead to disastrous implications.

It will be a disaster for India, as the country’s northeast is already a restive and volatile region, while it could spell trouble for Myanmar and doom for Bangladesh.

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