TODAY -

Sheikh Hasina's revelation
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: May 27, 2024 -



Despite the stark difference in their military capability and resources, the responses of India and its neighbouring country Bangladesh to the growing threat of Kuki-Chin militant groups to the regional security and stability is something very hard to digest.

India may be about 22 times bigger and occupies the 4th rank in the Global Firepower (GFP) Index-2023 when compared with Bangladesh which is at a distant 40th position in the list of 145 nations; yet, at the first whiff of Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) going out of control in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) where the outlawed separatist organisation is based, the Government of Bangladesh lost no time in ordering a coordinated operation led by its Army "until the terrorists are eliminated".

The coordinated operation of Bangladesh Police and Army has succeeded in arresting several suspected members of the militant group and recovery of firearms so much so that even the Amnesty International has been compelled to write a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (May 22) calling for ending the crackdown as it has started affecting the innocent civilians of Bawm community.

In its letter, the UK-based international human rights organisation pointed out that since April 7, more than 100 Bawm people have been arbitrarily arrested from villages across the Chittagong Hill Tracts, days after a serious of bank robberies allegedly committed by KNF militants, and over 11,000 people of the indigenous community are currently passing days in fear of arrests, starvation, and lack of access to education and employment.

The human rights body has also expressed concern that Bangladesh authorities seem to assume that the entire Bawm community is either part of or are supporters of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) and due to KNF's apparently deep ties with many Bawm people, the entire community is at serious risk of suffering collective punishment.

Even if the concern of the Amnesty International is genuine and the Government of Bangladesh needs to ensure that the innocent Bawm people are not subjected to any sort of harassment unnecessarily, we feel that the manner in which Bangladesh Prime Minister and ruling Awami League president Sheikh Hasina has authorised the entire security apparatus of her country to go all out against the KNF terrorists to neutralise their subversive activities is something that the government of India should take serious note of, if could not emulate.

It is now becoming apparent that more than her Indian counterpart; Sheikh Hasina has deeper understanding of the danger posed by Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) and other militant groups not just in her country but also in the entire South Asian region.

In a recent meeting of the Awami League-led alliance held for the first time after the general elections conducted in January, Sheikh Hasina did not shy away from pointing out the larger conspiracy and continuous effort of the Kuki-Chin militant groups to create a "Christian state like East Timor" comprising the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and a part of bordering Myanmar with the backing of some powerful western countries which are pressuring her to allow setting up of a military air base in the Bay of Bengal for making the task easier.

This is a revelation which the government of India could iIl-afford to ignore. Rather than coming up with knee-jerk reaction of issuing rebuttals when British MP jim Shannon described the ongoing violence in Manipur as a "silent attack on Christians" during debate in the UK House of Commons or when the US State Department talked about "significant" abuses in Manipur in its 2023 Human Rights Report, it would be wiser for the government of India to realise that the ethnic conflict in Manipur which has been going on since May 3, 2023 is not a simple clash between two competing ethnic groups over quota in government jobs.



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