Sunday, June 21, 2009

JMB, HUJI, oh my!

Rapid Action Battalion sources told the New Nation that the JMB and HUJI have started regrouping in the city (presumably, Dhaka) and in remote villages across the country. Unfortunately the article did not reveal any specific places, districts, or sub-districts.

Like earlier Daily Star articles, New Nation reported that the groups are targeting women and “youths” for recruitment. Moreover, the article reported that JMB members are also being trained in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition from insecticide sprayers.

The RAB source stated that security has been increased for members of the Supreme Court and other judicial officials, after reported threats by militants seeking to establish ‘divine laws’ in place of ‘man made ones.’

Security officials also reportedly told the New Nation that there over 33 “extremist right wing or militant organizations.” Other analysts/watchdogs reported that several of the organizations had renamed themselves at different times, and that some were not related to militancy.

The increased protection for the SC and judiciary officials should sound familiar. In the past, JMB and other militant Islamist organizations have targeted representatives of constitutional law in Bangladesh, judges, lawyers, and courts. It would seem that RAB has credible information that the groups are going to revert back to their old tactics.

A reversion to these tactics simply highlights the fact that democratic and constitutional law is under threat in Bangladesh.

Of particular interest is the note that not all groups were related to militancy but are “extremist and right wing.” Whether this represents the political parties, like JIB or IOJ, or other non-governmental organizations is an interesting question. The statement makes one think of the possible links between these non-violent groups and the militant organizations.

Agitating for a different system, or revised system, of government is democratic. But advocating the dissolution of the state is revolutionary, perhaps even treasonous. A good course of action would be to understand the root allegations of the “non-violent extremist right” and decide whether they are valid or not.

However, these groups are still a threat to democracy since they are advocating for its removal. Oversight and regulation of their activities is necessary, but open dialogue should be conducted on their grievances – corruption, graft, or religious rights.

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