Chief of general staff says religious fanatics tried to misguide pious army officials in a planned way.
There should be no room for religious fanaticism in the army, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Md Mainul Islam said yesterday.
Speaking at a seminar titled “National Security Strategy for Bangladesh”, he also warned that those who were behind the recent “coup attempt” to topple the government would be tracked down, private television channel ATN Bangla reported.
Lt Gen (retd) ATM Zahirul Alam was the keynote speaker at the discussion, organised by Centre for Security and Development Studies (CSDS).
Some former senior officials including ex-army chiefs were present at the seminar, held at the Retired Armed Officers Welfare Association (Raowa) Club in the capital.
A number of speakers there advised that the government form a National Security Council.
Referring to the latest developments in the army, Lt Gen Mainul said some religious bigots had tried to indoctrinate the pious officers in a planned manner. They were so clever that they had targeted the religion-fearing officers to execute their coup plot. He cautioned that these kinds of schemes must not be allowed to succeed.
“We all are pious, and the meaning of our secularism is [that] each and everyone will follow their own religion but no one will intervene in others' religion,” Mainul observed.
But unfortunately, he added, there are layers in the religion. Besides those pious, there are layers such as Dharma Praan, Dharma Parayan, Dharma Bhiru (pious, god-fearing) Goda (dogmatist), Dharmandho (zealots) and Dharma Babosayee (someone who exploits religion for something sinister).
"In the army, we can accept Dharma Praan and Dharma Parayan, and if we can provide some knowledge to those who are Dharma Bhiru, they too can come along with the first two layers. But it's not fair to leave space for Dharmio Gorami, Dharmandho and Dharma Babosayee in the institution. The time has come to speak out about these and by saying these [we] will have to keep the organisation on the right track," Mainul said.
Meanwhile, sources in the army said they were carrying out an investigation from a broader perspective to unearth the details of the “coup attempt” and the plot to assassinate the country's top leadership including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.