The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

lar rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion is be­ing car­ried out in Ben­gal as well, a state where Wah­habism in the vi­o­lently ex­clu­sivist form man­i­fested in Kash­mir is a de­vel­op­ing threat, which seems thus far to have been down­played by Writ­ers Build­ing. In Myan­mar it­self, both Ataulla and Ab­dus Burmi, the Emirs (chiefs) of ARSA and HUJI-K, re­spec­tively, have close work­ing links with Pak­istan armylinked Ja­maat-ud-Dawah ( JuD), Jaish-e-Mo­ham­mad ( JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), as well as with el­e­ments of the Ja­maat-e-Is­lami in Bangladesh, where its stu­dent wing Is­lami Ch­ha­tra Shibir (ICS) is ac­tive in as­sist­ing ex­trem­ists, to­gether with other In­dia-based groups and even po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Apart from Myan­mar and Bangladesh, an­other recruitment zone for Ro­hingya re­cruits by ex­trem­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions tasked with later wag­ing non- con­ven­tional war in parts of In­dia, is In­done­sia, a coun­try that has opened its doors to the Ro­hingya from Myan­mar. Both the United States and the Euro­pean Union (EU) are urg­ing In­dia to do like­wise, even though they them­selves have shut the door on such im­mi­grants, de­spite their chat­ter about “Ro­hingya rights”. In­ter­est­ingly, the In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties have been ei­ther un­able or un­will­ing to put in check ex­trem­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Is­lamic De­fend­ers Front (FPI), which is openly call­ing for armed vol­un­teers to go to armed war against the au­thor­i­ties in Myan­mar, so as to carve out an “Is­lamic Emi­rate” or Ro­hingyas­tan out of sub­stan­tial parts of that coun­try. In In­dia, both in Ben­gal and As­sam, the Ja­matul Mu­jahideen Bangladesh ( JMB) has been qui­etly set­ting up units since 2011, and it has been es­ti­mated that well over 18,000 (eigh­teen thou­sand) cadres have been re­cruited out of il­le­gal Ro­hingya and Bangladeshi mi­grant pools in th­ese two states.

The Wah­habi In­ter­na­tional has worked hard at en­sur­ing that the US, the UK, France and other NATO pow­ers sup­port the Ro­hingya cause. Th­ese coun­tries are ig­nor­ing the decades of in­sur­gency that Myan­mar has en­dured from sep­a­ratists. The dan­ger is that such fa­cil­i­ta­tion could ig­nite waves of fresh recruitment to mil­i­tant or­gan­i­sa­tions the same way as took place in the 1980s as a con­se­quence of the US em­pow­er­ment of re­li­gious fa­nat­ics to bat­tle the in­va­sion of Afghanistan by the USSR. In their usual thought­less man­ner, the larger NATO mem­ber-states are willy-nilly at risk of repli­cat­ing the chaos of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria in Myan­mar, In­dia, In­done­sia, Malaysia, the Philip­pines and Thai­land, through their high-deci­bel sup­port for those gen­er­at­ing re­li­gious fer­vour through se­lec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing the Ro­hingyas. Thus far, In­dia has not (openly at least) warned against such desta­bil­is­ing ef­forts by the NATO pow­ers to im­plant fa- nat­ics into coun­tries not their own. Such si­lence in the face of pol­icy er­rors that could have a grave fu­ture im­pact is rem­i­nis­cent of the si­lence of New Delhi at Moscow’s sub­du­ing of Hun­gary and Cze­choslo­vakia in the 1950s and the 1960s, as also the lack of of­fi­cial blow­back to the USSR’s oc­cu­pa­tion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Since 2015, sub­stan­tial amounts of cash from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Ara­bia and other Wah­habi-friendly lo­ca­tions (that in­clude cities in Canada, the UK and Ger­many) are flow­ing, mostly through hawala chan­nels, to NGOs in In­dia, In­done­sia, Pak­istan, Malaysia and other coun­tries to fund marches and protests de­mand­ing free en­try for the Ro­hingya into th­ese coun­tries. Op­er­a­tion “Kash­mir 1989 in As­sam 2019” is as­sisted by the ease with which the Ro­hingya, as well as oth­ers from Bangladesh can in­fil­trate the state. Four dis­tricts (Dhubri, Cachar, Karim­ganj and South Sal­mara) share a bor­der with Bangladesh. Be­cause of de­lay in fenc­ing the borders of Tripura and Megha­laya, de­spite a se­cu­rity alert in both lo­ca­tions, th­ese two states have also wit­nessed a large in­flux of mi­grants from Bangladesh, in­clud­ing sev­eral Ro­hingya. Since al-Zawahiri’s call, ef­forts by Wah­habi or­gan­i­sa­tions to poi­son the com­mu­nal at­mos­phere in parts of eastern In­dia, so that it ap­prox­i­mates the sit­u­a­tion in Kash­mir (where mem­bers of a par­tic­u­lar com­mu­nity have al­most en­tirely been driven out), have been un­ceas­ing. An ex­am­ple is a What­sApp mes­sage ask­ing for “1 crore 21 lakh Mus­lims to come out on the roads (of As­sam) on Novem­ber 27 (to stop) ha­rass­ment of (Bangladeshi) Mus­lims. If we do not unite in time we will all have to die like in Myan­mar. Come with your fa­ther and mother onto the roads.” The ob­jec­tive of such rants is to stop a planned de-reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion and pos­si­ble de­por­ta­tion of sev­eral mil­lion il­le­gal Ban- gladeshi mi­grants. Th­ese are at risk of be­ing outed by the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC). The call of groups sym­pa­thetic to rad­i­cal el­e­ments is to not only al­low free mi­gra­tion from Bangladesh into In­dia, but en­sure that an es­ti­mated six-mil­lion-plus il­le­gal mi­grants now res­i­dent in As­sam (and count­less oth­ers in Ben­gal) be given full rights and papers of In­dian cit­i­zen­ship. A few or­gan­i­sa­tions are in the lead in or­gan­is­ing such moves. Across the state, in­flam­ma­tory ma­te­rial is be­ing dis­trib­uted that warn of an imag­i­nary plan by Cen­tral and state au­thor­i­ties to “lynch and mur­der mem­bers of the mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity”.

For­tu­nately, in In­dia, the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims are modern and mod­er­ate, and there­fore refuse to re­spond to in­cen­di­ary calls to ac­tion by groups that sub­scribe to the Wah­habi doc­trine of ex­clu­sivism through vi­o­lence. Mus­lims in In­dia are over­all wed­ded to mod­er­ate doc­trines such as the Barelvi and have not given way to Wah­habism the way it has been the case in Pak­istan, and to a lesser ex­tent in Bangladesh and In­done­sia as well. How­ever, fund­ing from Wah­habis out­side the coun­try has re­sulted in sev­eral the­o­log­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions and ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments get­ting set up in Ben­gal and As­sam, where cred­u­lous stu­dents some­times be­lieve in the ex­clu­sivist teach­ings fed to them by teach­ers with links to ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies. The good news is that both Ben­gal and As­sam have a tra­di­tion of tol­er­ance and mutual re­spect, hence it is prov­ing to be dif­fi­cult for the ISI to re­cruit enough fa­natic cadre so as to carry out its plans for eastern In­dia. How­ever, be­cause of the plans put into op­er­a­tion by the ISI, an at­mos­phere of fear, panic and ha­tred is be­ing sought to be cre­ated by or­gan­i­sa­tions linked to Al Qaeda and its as­so­ciates (in­clud­ing the ISI, which shel­tered Osama bin Laden and still does Ay­man al Zawahiri).

De­spite the threat of in­cit- ing mobs of il­le­gal mi­grants in their hun­dreds of thou­sands, the state govern­ment in As­sam is on track to carry out a sci­en­tific as­sess­ment de­signed to lo­cate il­le­gal mi­grants, who have bribed or tricked their way (through false and forged papers) into As­sam. Although In­dian cit­i­zens have noth­ing to fear from the on­go­ing prepa­ra­tion of a Na­tional Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens in As­sam, in­creas­ing ef­forts are be­ing made by the ISI and its aux­il­iaries that are de­signed to mis­lead them into join­ing ag­i­ta­tions spon­sored by ex­ter­nal in­ter­ests. The pro­posed mass man­i­fes­ta­tion on 27 Novem­ber is re­garded by such en­ti­ties as a dress re­hearsal for launch­ing an op­er­a­tion de­signed to turn se­lected parts of As­sam in 2019 into what Kash­mir was al­lowed to be­come from 1989 on­wards. Hope­fully, the ISI-Al Qaeda op­er­a­tion will end in fail­ure, rather than con­vert As­sam into the caul­dron that the Pak­istan army made parts of Kash­mir for many decades.

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