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As a Writer Sees the Truth

As a Writer Sees the Truth

Author: Editorial
Publication: Sentinel Assam
Date: December 16, 2004

The presence of the Bangladeshi writer Salam Azad as a visitor to the Sixth North East Book Fair at Guwahati is indeed serendipitous for the people of Assam. This is because the Bangladesh Government is too full of lies when it comes to the issues of large-scale illegal migration of Bangladeshis to the North-east and of the presence of a large number of camps for the training of insurgent groups from the North-east in Bangladesh. The more sinister of the lies, of course, relates to the training camps for our insurgents. The Government of India has done much more than just pointing out the fact to Dhaka (though rather late in the day). It has submitted a list of the 195 camps showing their locations and produced satellite photographs as well. However, the Bangladesh Government continues to insist that there are no such camps. The Government of India has managed to do very little to nail the steady barrage of high-level lies.

According to Salam Azad, however, the pro-Pakistan stand of the present Bangladesh Government has been providing the insurgent groups of the north-eastern States of India a safe haven in that country. He said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan was one of the main sources of strength for the insurgent outfits. "The Government of India's claim regarding the existence of camps of North-east insurgent groups on Bangladesh soil is very much genuine," Azad said when talking to The Sentinel on Monday. The writer, who has been in the city for a week, said that he had even met some of the cadres of Indian insurgent outfits in the Chittagong Hill Tracts when he was writing a book on missing tribal woman leader, Kalpana Chakma, who remains untraced till today after her arrest by the Bangladesh Army from her house on June 12, 1996. (Incidentally, Azad's book on Kalpana Chakma is due to be published shortly in India in both English and Bengali. It touches also on the alleged atrocities on tribals in the name of Islam.) Salam Azad is of the view that infiltration from Bangladesh is triggered both by "ethnic cleansing" and economic factors. He revealed that several people belonging to the Hindu and other religious minority communities have been forced to cross the international border due to lack of security to their life and property under the present regime in Bangladesh. What Azad implies is that the forced exodus of the minorities from Bangladesh has been escalated by the present regime, since this is a process that has gone on since the partition of India. That is what explains the sharp reduction in the Hindu population of that country. At the time of Partition, the Hindus of Bangladesh constituted about 34 per cent of the population. Today, they constitute just nine per cent of the population. However, this is not in the least surprising for any Islamic country. The situation in Pakistan is no different. Nor does it differ materially in any of the other Islamic countries, several of which have attained the desired objective of having a 100 per cent Muslim population.

Salam Azad has helped us to arrive at the truth on three aspects of the Bangladesh Government's policy vis-à-vis India - particularly the North-east. He has confirmed that there are training camps in Bangladesh for insurgents from the North-east, and that they being assisted by the ISI of Pakistan. He has confirmed that there is large-scale illegal infiltration to India from that country. And he has also confirmed that Bangladesh does not tolerate religious minorities. This is amply evident from the treatment of Hindus and Buddhist Chakmas there. On all three points, the Bangladesh Government is ever ready with unconvincing lies. It is good to have a writer from Bangladesh itself nailing the official lies from Dhaka. After all, people know who to believe. To them, the writer ranks well above the government in terms of credibility. It is only the Government here that insists on believing what is convenient to believe. And so it will also go on believing that despite all the lies and treachery, Bangladesh is a friendly country, even when it has the most inimical intentions about India. After all, Dhaka has signed so many friendship treaties.

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