Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dhaka tipped off by Delhi

Report some foreign media on plot to overthrow govt.


After the army announced foiling a “coup attempt” to overthrow the government, a number of foreign newspapers have reported that India played an important role in unearthing the plot.

The Daily Mail has reported that a “tip-off from India” helped Bangladesh Army pre-empt the conspirators.

“India has helped Bangladesh avert what could have been reminiscent of bloody military takeover in the wake of the country's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, 36 years ago,” the British newspaper wrote on Friday.

“Sources said a reported tip-off from India helped the army pre-empt the bid by middle-ranking serving officers with active support from retired army men. 

“It is believed that New Delhi alerted the Hasina government, which enabled the Bangladesh army to trace the plotters by tracking the cell phone call records.”

A report of Bangla daily Anandabazar Patrika said “Indian intelligence also played a role in foiling the military coup”.

Indian cantonments have been warned and intelligence has been instructed to closely monitor the situation so that “its ripples do not affect India”, the Indian newspaper reported on Friday.

It said that the Indian government believes “the objective of the failed military coup was New Delhi”.

“The military coup sought to thwart the friendship created between India and Bangladesh since the Hasina government came to power,” the news item said.

The daily said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has “decided to provide all forms of assistance in case of efforts to remove Sheikh Hasina from power through any undemocratic process”.

Intelligence reports from both countries pointed out that Hizb ut-Tahrir Bangladesh, Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP has been working together in this regard, it read.

Intelligence officials have also indicated that some extreme fundamentalists were planted in the army during the BNP-led four-party alliance government for “special reasons”, Anandabazar Patrika said.

“Former Prime Minister's son Tarique Rahman's name has also emerged as the head of the entire incident.” 

India Today, a weekly news magazine, also reported about Tarique Rahman's possible link to the plot.

“Investigations point towards former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's exiled son Tareque [Tarique] Rahman's role in trying to trigger a mutiny within the army with an aim to remove its top brass and the government that wants better ties with India,” it reported yesterday.

The Indian magazine reported that the rebels circulated notes among fellow officials describing the Hasina government as “Indian agent” and claiming that “senior army officers are on India's payrolls and New Delhi wants to convert Bangladesh into a protectorate”.

English daily Times of India on Friday reported that “Indian agencies have had inputs about a possible coup in Bangladesh for the past few days”.

In another report yesterday, the Indian newspaper said the “failed military coup may have been more serious that what has emerged in public”.

It said at least some senior army officers, including a major general, were aware of the plot as they were regularly briefed.

Citing Indian officials, the newspaper said the attempt is a warning of the “fragility of Bangladesh's democracy” and “possible Islamisation that is creeping into the army ranks”.

Meanwhile, talking to, Smruti S Pattanaik, an Indian expert on Bangladesh, has said the Bangladeshi military is not interested in direct takeover of power.

“Its involvement in peacekeeping mission under UN is a major international constraint,” said Pattanaik, “However, it does not want civilian government's interference in its institutional affairs”.

She believes that Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina needs to “take strong disciplinary actions against the conspirators” to stop “Islamist infiltration of the army”.