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Look East, terror may be lurking there: Gill

Look East, terror may be lurking there: Gill

Author: Press Trust of India
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: November 20, 2005
URL: http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=58641

India needs to wake up to new realities believes 'Super Cop' K.P.S. Gill who wants the authorities to acknowledge the 'threats' emerging from the eastern neighbour-Bangladesh.

"Threats to India's security have been emanating from the East and the north-east for a very long time now. But somehow the Indian security has never considered it seriously," says gill, who is the president of Institute of Conflict Management.

The former Punjab DGP, who is credited with rooting out terrorism from militancy-infested Punjab and Assam, believes that as East has never been the 'focus of attention' as far as India's security is concerned, resultantly Bangladesh has never been seen as a 'cause of worry' for India.

"It's time we understand the changing scenario in our neighbourhood. Bangladesh has experienced an alarming rise in Islamist fundamentalism in the recent years. The country is being used as a base and a training centre by terrorists. Of late, it has become a supplier of arms and weaponry to al-Qaida and allied terrorist outfits," says Gill who believes 'strongly' that India needed to deal with this situation seriously.

Known for his 'expertise' in dealing with terrorism, he is a key advisor to the governments and institutions on security-related issues. He strongly believes that the government needs a rethink on the immigration policy of the country.

"There is so much of illegal immigration. There are thousands of Bangladeshis who come to India. We must understand that it is not always due to poverty as some of these areas that they come to are no better, economically, than the ones they have migrated from. So it's clear that they are coming for some other purposes," he says.

Speaking at a recent panel discussion to mark the release of the book--Bangladesh-The Next Afghanistan?--Gill also felt that the Bangladesh government is doing little to combat terrorism in their country.

"Bangladesh have sheltered terrorist groups from India for many years. They have encouraged them, promoted them. Their ministers address these terrorists as 'freedom fighters'," he says, adding that such a scenario had 'serious implications' for South and South-East Asia.

However, even as he indicted the Bangladeshi government for 'supporting' terrorism, he added that 'this was in no way a reflection on the society as a whole' and that the country was not completely shorn of liberals.

His argument found support in other panelists like--Justice G.N. Ray, chairman, Press Council of India and H.K. Dua, editor, The Tribune who believe that India should not haste in branding Bangladesh as a 'terror state'.

"Even as there are many activities done to destabilise the state, we should take into account the moderate elements in Bangladesh who want peace," says Ray.

Dua believes that even if Bangladesh had seceded from the Indian cultural ethos and had adopted a 'hostile' attitude towards India, we should not disappoint the secular and liberal elements of that country who want 'only peace'.

"India should deal with the growing threat from Bangladesh carefully. It is a soft state and the fundamentalism there has reached a serious stage. But we should support all the secular people there, the writers, the civil society, the journalists who have the courage to fight the terror elements within their country," he says.

Dua reasons that one way to do so would be to discourage the fundamentalist activities in our own country.

"We should not do anything here in India that encourages the terrorists in Bangladesh. We should condemn the fundamentalist elements of our country, discourage the rath yatras and outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and stand by the secular fabric of our country. All this will convey a strong message to militants in Bangladesh that we would not tolerate any of their activities," he concludes.

The bottom line: Bangladesh with its 'growing Islamic terrorism' today is like an unexploded grenade and India has to gear itself to not just prevent it from exploding but also be suitably equipped for the aftermath of the explosion.

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