‘Dhaka attack inspired by Islamic State’

Experts say political developments since 2014 and execution of war criminals are key reasons

July 03, 2016 02:58 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The >terror strike in Dhaka is a sign of Bangladesh’s internal political dynamics as well as the continuing appeal of a new wave of religious violence inspired by the Islamic State.

Officials in Indian agencies believe the political developments in the neighbouring country since 2014 and the execution of war criminals were the key reasons for the violence. Much of that political unrest is convulsing around the >Islamic State and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JUB).

“Those who propagate terror find their task made easier if the government’s response creates an impression of reprisal born out of political animosity. It would be good not only for Bangladesh but also for any country if professionals are given a free hand to tackle terror correctly and justly,” said P.K. Hormis Tharakan, former chief, R&AW.

Another former intelligence official said the way Prime Minister >Sheikh Hasina had been going about dispensing justice was not only creating trouble within but also giving a bad name to India because of its perceived influence with government.

A senior official pointed out that during Friday’s attack, one of the demands made by the hostage takers was the release of JUB leader Khaled Saifullah. Indian agencies had observed increased activity on Twitter and other social media fora used by pro-Islamist groups since the attack began.

At least one Twitter handle claimed the imminent attack in Dhaka, officials said.

Islamic State’s Amaq news agency, which has claimed IS responsibility for various killings, claimed responsibility for the attack. It also posted photographs that it claimed were from inside the restaurant.

“It is more a domestic problem of Bangladesh than anything else,” a senior intelligence officer said.

Lessons for India

Sources in the security establishment said the attacks were also a sign that violent Islamism would continue for a long time, despite the setbacks suffered by IS in Iraq or the clampdown against fundamentalists in Bangladesh.

“We need to be concerned about the IS influence in India. While in some the cases agencies may have overplayed their hand, in many others the findings are alarming,” an official said.

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