Former Indian Army Chief also joined the Indian media’s propaganda war
Friday April 03 2009 15:04:09 PM BDT
By Shah Ahmad Reza
The Indians have failed again to prove their sincere friendly attitude towards Bangladesh. After the so-called BDR mutiny and killing of the Army Officers it was expected that the Indians would stand by the people of Bangladesh and help to find out and punish the criminals. As the closest neibour it was India’s responsibility too. On the other hand the Indians’ response has been disappointing and alarming.
Instead of even thinking to cooperate, the Indian media in fact started a propaganda war against Bangladesh. The role of the Indian government has also been dubious. The think tanks of India too joined hands with the country’s media. Among others even a former Army Chief has also come to stand in the anti-Bangladesh long cue. The war was first launched by the Indian media. In the name of disseminating news and information regarding the so-called mutiny the Indian media came up with some peculiar but damaging and politically motivated theories. From the very beginning they started to hint their fingers at the Islamist and nationalist forces of Bangladesh. Not only that they also mentioned the names of the Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The daily Anandabazar of Kolkata (26th February) even `invented’ leaders and workers of BNP and Jamaat in the front line of a procession which was brought out in support of the so-called mutineers! That was the beginning. Subsequently each and every newspaper and TV channel of India tried to establish that no one else but the BNP and Jamaat had brought about the so-called mutiny and killed the Army Officers! According to the Indian media the purpose was to hinder and foil the government’s effort to bring the war criminals of 1971 to justice. The second aim, they said, was to destabilize and `overthrow’ the Awami League government. The Indian media even propagated about a `civil war’ which BNP and Jamaat wanted to instigate and initiate. In their last theory the Indian media talked about a `Great Game’ to destabilize and weaken India.
What the `Great Game’ really was has been explained by a former Army Chief of India, General (Retd.) Shankar Roy Chowdhury. In an interview published in the Indian daily Asian Age on 24th March, the retired General has said, ``… the war in Bangladesh between India and Pakistan never really ended on December 16, 1971, but continued thereafter as a "Great Game" between the protagonists to retain Bangladesh within their respective spheres of influence.
Round one went to India with the military victory in East Pakistan in 1971, the creation of Bangladesh and the installation of Sheikh Mujib as its founding Prime Minister. He was accepted as India’s protégé, but his assassination within three years … was viewed in some quarters as a substantial defeat of India’s policies and, by implication, a victory for the "other side". Round two, therefore, went to Pakistan…” After explaining about the `Great Game’ between India and Pakistan, General (Retd.) Roy Chowdhury said, ``Since there is now an Awami League government in office, the sepoy mutiny sounds like the opening bell for the next round of the "Great Game", to destabilize the government and replace the India-friendly government of Ms Hasina and the Awami League with a Pakistan-friendly one of Begum Khaleda Zia and the BNP.” The former Indian Army Chief has also cautioned about the probable role of India and said, ``New Delhi will certainly not want that to happen in a country which previous non-Awami League governments had turned into a sanctuary and base of operations for ****** terrorists groups like Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) and anti-India separatist groups from our Northeast.”
The other two theories of the Indian media should also be mentioned here. In the first one the Indian media tried to establish that in order to `come back’ to power again the BNP and Jamaat wanted to instigate and initiate a `civil war’ through the so-called mutiny. This theory has been supported by the country’s think tanks also. In an article, `The Great Bangla Conspiracy’, published in the South Asian Analysis (13th March) Bhaskar Roy has opined that `had the BDR mutiny been successful it would have brought the BNP rightists and Jamaat-e-Islami Islamists coalition back to power.’ According to Bhaskar Roy the mutiny was a `meticulously planned conspiracy’ and it had a `much larger game plan’.
But although well written the Indian think tank’s theory could not gain any support in Bangladesh and the information Bhaskar Roy mentioned did not strengthen their claims. In stead it appeared that in the course of events the Indian government had to achieve many things. For example, in the wake of the so-called mutiny none else but the Foreign Minister Pronab Mukherjee had received an `explicit request’ from Dhaka and he instantly assured that India was `ready’ to come to the `rescue’ of Sheikh Hasina! India acted also very rapidly- the `Parachute Regiment’ of the Indian Army was brought overnight to West Bengal from Agra and the Air Force was kept on `high alert’ in Kolkata and Guahati of Assam (The Telegraph, Kolkata, 28 February).
These information regarding the Indian government’s activities and preparations to come to `rescue’ Sheikh Hasina have been seen as very significant. And it has been correctly alleged that some particular foreign power wanted to destroy the BDR first to make the border a free zone. In the second phase they wanted to bring the Bangladesh Army in the streets. They thought that after seeing their officers’ killing the Army would surely react and try to topple the government. Had the Army really overthrown the AL government and snatched the power the Indian Army would have come to `rescue’ Sheikh Hasina and a war would have been inevitable. And as the `superior’ power India would have won that war, it was assumed..
Here comes the basic question regarding the so-called involvement of the BNP and Jamaat-E-Islami. Could the patriotic and responsible parties like the BNP and Jamaat depend on any such perilous and precarious events and planning which would have paved the way for Indian intervention? It is obvious that had the Indians really come to `rescue’ Sheikh Hasina and her government the `conspiracy’ to `return to power’ would have surely failed. This would have rather destroyed both BNP and Jamaat. Then why would the parties go for such a dangerous `conspiracy’ to invite the Indian invasion? Secondly, why the parties would encourage the killing of the Army Officers? In fact as they adore the Army as their own children they can not even think to harm the Army in any way. It should be mentioned that it was President Ziaur Rahman who had saved the Army from destruction by the Rakkhi Bahini of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and rejuvenated the Army. The Army was flourished hugely during the four-party alliance government of BNP-Jamaat. So the question of harming the Army by the BNP and Jamaat can not even be imagined.
Here another theory of the Indians should be considered. The question is, are the parties like BNP and Jamaat at all in a position to weaken India in any way? Obviously not, will be the answer. There are other reasons also. At least 270 Maoist, Naxalites and militant organizations have been working and struggling in India with various aims including the independence of the North-Eastern India. So India does not `need’ the BNP and Jamaat to weaken or destabilize the country! But yet the Indian media have been aiming their weapons at the most popular and patriotic parties of the country. They have even `invented’ the `hands’ of the BNP and Jamaat leaders behind the so-called mutiny and the killing of the Army Officers! The Analysts think that the purpose of the propaganda by the Indian media and their supporters like General Shankar Roy Chowdhury is to divide the Bangladeshi nation and encourage internecine feud in Bangladesh. They also want to obstruct the investigation. For, the findings might expose the real roles of India which would not be pleasant for the Indian media.