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India�s concern over threat from radicals

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 3 - The Government of India is keeping a very close watch on the situation in Bangladesh following the recent attack by Islamic State (IS) in Dhaka as rise of radical and terrorist forces in the neighbouring country may have dangerous consequences in Assam and West Bengal.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the threat to Assam and West Bengal having long international border with Bangladesh cannot be overlooked. Any major growth of radical and terrorist forces in the neighbouring country can spill over to India, sources pointed out.

On the steps taken by India to deal with the situation, sources revealed that the government is closely monitoring the developments in Bangladesh, while all the agencies on the ground, including the security and intelligence agencies as well as the Border Security Force (BSF), have been directed to keep a close watch on the situation.

Moreover, India and Bangladesh are working in close coordination to prevent the growth of IS and other radical forces in the neighbouring country. Both the countries are sharing �real time intelligence� to deal with such forces, while India is also helping Bangladesh in capacity building to deal with terror outfits. It is in India�s interest to keep the terrorist outfits out of Bangladesh and the Government of India is providing all possible help to the neighbouring country in this regard, sources added.

Sources revealed that the IS has been trying to set up strong bases in Bangladesh for quite some time, but so far, the outfit is engaging locals to indulge in violence on its behalf rather than sending its own men from the Middle East countries and Syria. Bangladesh is seen as a fertile ground by the IS to strengthen its base as some radical and terrorist outfits are active in that country and they are working against the present government headed by Sheikh Hasina. According to information available with Indian security agencies, some of the radical forces in Bangladesh are receiving financial aid from Syria and Arabian countries, which is disturbing news for India.

MHA sources said that as per information available with the security agencies of India, the IS, in its bid to infiltrate into Bangladesh, even allowed local ultra groups to use its name in a few of the incidents of violence so that the incidents get worldwide attention. There have also been instances of the IS providing guidance to outfits in Bangladesh and �it is something like giving franchise,� sources added.

The radical forces in Bangladesh are desperate to destabilize the present government in Bangladesh and outfits like the JMB and HUJI are reportedly getting support from the IS and its supporters. Propaganda machinery of the IS is working overtime and the outfit mentioned about establishing roots in Bangladesh in its monthly newsletter on several occasions. The radical forces in the neighbouring country are against the secular character of the present government and that is why a number of desperate attempts were made since 2009 to create disturbance in the country, sources added.

Sources pointed out that Bangladesh was born as a secular country, but in 1988 the constitution was amended to make the country an Islamic Republic. However, after coming to power, the Awami League Government has been announcing time and again that people from all religions would get equal right and there would be no discrimination against anyone on the basis of religion. That view of the government is strongly opposed by the radical forces in that country and the IS is trying to fish in the troubled water, sources pointed out.

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