Bangladesh Islami front calls for closer Delhi-Dhaka relations

Bangladesh Islami front calls for closer Delhi-Dhaka relations

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Bangladesh Islami front calls for closer Delhi-Dhaka relations

S U M Abdus Samad, the Secretary General of the Bangladesh Islami Front on Tuesday hit out at the online campaign especially saying it was driven by hard-line elements who spread hate and misinformation. The Islami front is a small independent party which had put up 37 candidates in the recently concluded polls.

Islami Front is a far right political Party of Bangladesh which has completely rejected a recent ‘India Out’ social media campaign in Bangladesh. The campaign has sharpened after Sheikh Hasina, who is seen to be close to India, won a record fourth term in the recently concluded national elections.

During his visit to New Delhi, Abdus Samad said cordial ties are crucial for both the neighbouring countries as he highlighted the increased connectivity in recent years.

“There is misinformation there since the beginning that India brought a lot of stuff from Bangladesh in 1971 and also did brutal acts. This kind of misinformation is there. So it is a must for India to show that we are not against Bangladesh, but we are friends”, said Samad.

In Bangladesh, an “India Out” campaign has sparked off on social media. Led by medical professional Pinaki Bhattacharya, who describes himself as an exiled blogger, online activist and human rights defender, the campaign called for the boycott of Indian goods following the results of the elections.

Bhattacharya’s social media followers, which number about 53000 on X and 6000 on Instagram, claim that the movement is fuelled by the Indian government’s unilateral support for Sheikh Hasina’s administration in Bangladesh. The bloggers allege that the elections in Bangladesh were neither free nor fair.

Bloggers running this campaign have been using three hashtags: #Indiaout #BoycottIndia and #BoycottIndianproducts.

A report by Digital Forensics and Research and Analytics Centre reveals that the trend of boycotts on social media does not appear natural.

“A closer examination of this trend reveals that the group that began this campaign has always been engaged in anti-India activities in Bangladesh. Several users among them, are either indirectly associated with the political parties of Bangladesh (mainly BNP), or claim to be their supporters”, said the DFRAC report.

D-FRAC is a non-partisan and independent media organisation which focuses on fact-checking and identifying hate speech.

S U M Abdus Samad reiterated that this was just misinformation being spread, and that Bangladesh has been witnessing rapid growth and development for several years under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Abdus Samad praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and said, “Since the Sheikh Hasina government came into power, there has been a growth in Bangladesh’s development. In 10-20 years, the development in Dhaka, Chittagong which we see now – if one knows about the suffering before – seeing it presently, it won’t be recognizable now”.

The Secretary General of the Bangladesh Islami Front also stressed on the continuous improvement in people to people contact and connectivity between India and Bangladesh.

“There is now train connectivity from Akhaura… Akhaura- Brahmanbaria. Trade is also happening from river fronts to Assam and Tripura. The connectivity has increased. Items are also being exported and imported to Chittagong port. There is connectivity in Ramgarh as well”, said S U M Abdus Samad.

When asked about terrorism and religious fundamentalism in South Asia and Pakistan’s role, Samad emphasized the need for an establishment in Islamabad that does not let terrorism flourish.

“Pakistan has no impact in South Asia as such. But there should be a good government there to curb terrorism. There should be a government in Pakistan, which does not let terrorism flourish in South Asia”.

He condemned terrorism and religious fundamentalism and said, “Terrorism is against Islam. Killing an innocent has no place in Islam. We are against terrorism. Someone who is a terrorist, cannot be a good Muslim”.

The message from the Islami Front leader is clear, the so called ‘India-Out’ campaign appears is confined to a small group online with support of Pro Pakistan political parties like the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and smaller radical parties. The campaign is unlikely to affect India-Bangladesh relations which is on solid ground.