Bangladesh PM seeks nationwide alert amid Islamist attacks
“Once they (Islamists) started, they are unlikely to keep silent,” the premier told a media briefing at her residence in the aftermath of the July 1 terrorist attack at an upmarket Dhaka cafe that killed 20 foreigners including an Indian girl, and a subsequent assault on an Eid congregation in northern Sholakia district.
She however said the attacks resulted in a “national unity” against Islamists with people from all walks of life including Islamic leaders joining hands in spearheading a countrywide social campaign at the grassroots while police and security forces launched a clampdown against militants.
“However, everybody should develop their own security spheres, while the government will do everything possible on its part,” Hasina said. She spoke hours after suspected militants hacked three traditional ‘Baul’ mystic singers in a pre-dawn attack in western Chadanga district where a number of them rallied to join a mystic congregation.
The Baul community renders mystic songs disseminating messages of universal harmony, which is close to the Muslim Sufi thoughts, and do not perform the routine Islamic rituals. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but police suspect local hardline Islamists to have carried out the attack as they denounce mysticism as “unIslamic”.
Bangladesh in the past two years has witnessed deadly attacks on liberals, secular writers and activists, religious minorities including Hindus, Shias and Sufis.
“But the Gulshan (Dhaka cafe) attack appeared with a different dimension, a number of foreigners lost their lives in the assault affecting the country’s image. Earlier I had talked louder but the Gulshan attack dented country’s esteemed position,” Hasina said.
The premier, however said, the attacks did not affect Bangladesh’s image alone as terrorism appeared to be a global phenomenon with even developed nations like the US and France being victims of militant assaults.