Originally Published 2005-08-18 04:45:29 Published on Aug 18, 2005
At least two people were killed and 50 others injured in a series of 300 simultaneous small bomb blasts in 50 cities and towns, including Dhaka, the capital, across Bangladesh on August 17,2005.
Blasts in Bangladesh: Another Wake-up Call
At least two people were killed and 50 others injured in a series of 300 simultaneous small bomb blasts in 50 cities and towns, including Dhaka, the capital, across Bangladesh on August 17,2005. 

The Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Leaflets, purported to have been issued by the organisation, were found at many of the places where the explosions took place. These leaflets said: "It is time to implement the Sharia in Bangladesh" and "Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries." The local Police said that more than 50 people have been arrested in connection with the blasts. 

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia condemned those responsible as "enemies of the country, people, peace, humanity and democracy." Mr.Lutfozzaman Babor, the Home Minister of the Bangladesh Government, described the incidents as an organised attack. According to him, 58 of the country#146;s 64 districts were affected. The bombs had been planted at or near government offices, media clubs, courts and other public places. 

The terrorists had used commercially available explosives in small quantities for assembling crude improvised explosive devices fitted with timers. The explosions were not of a sophisticated nature. This was not an instance of intended mass casualty terrorism. The explosions were meant to demonstrate the reach and the extent of the following of the organisation right across the country despite the eye-wash of a so-called crack-down ordered against it by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia earlier this year. The explosions spoke of the poor caliber or, worse still, the complicity of the local intelligence services and the police. 

What is new in the leaflets distributed by the organisation is not its pro-sharia rhetoric, but its anti-US and anti-UK rhetoric and the attempt to project the jihad of the organisation as part of the global jihad against the US and the UK. However, reports available so far do not speak of any explosions directed at the diplomatic missions of these two countries. 

Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to be the two main hubs of international jihadi terrorism. President Pervez Musharraf and Begum Khaleda Zia follow identical policies in dealing with pro-Osama bin Laden and pro-Taliban jihadi terrorist groups.--- ostensibly condemning them openly and making a pretense of acting against them under international pressure, but using them covertly as strategic assets for achieving their political objectives---internal and external. 

Their internal objective is to covertly use the fundamentalist and jihadi terrorist organisations for consolidating their power and undermining their political opponents. Their external objective is to use these organisations against India.The State-sponsored growth of these organisations has enabled them to take advantage of the silent complicity of the two Governments to promote their own Islamic and pan-Islamic objectives. 

The Jamaatul Mujahideen#146;s Islamic objective is the Talibanisation of the entire belt from Bangladesh to Southern Thailand via Myanmar and its pan-Islamic objective is to extend support to Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda in their attempts to achieve an Islamic Caliphate. 

Note: For details of this organization, please read the author's earlier article entitled "Bangladesh: A Seeming Crack-down", South Asia Analysis Group, New Delhi, Paper no. 1274, March 2, 2005,

The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai Chapter.
Source: South Asia Analysis Group, New Delhi, Paper no. 1505, August 18, 2005.

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