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India, Bangladesh plan to share info on terror

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India and Bangladesh have unanimously decided to set up a joint working group to monitor and exchange of information on counter-terrorism and communalism.

Briefing newsmen after winding up his five-day trip of India, Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the two countries have agreed to draft an MoU to share information and setting up a joint working group immediately. “It will monitor and disseminate information,” he said.

The joint working group could be crucial for the northeastern states bordering Bangladesh in tackling terror-related activities. Assam had last month pressed the alarm bells and placed three bordering districts on high alert in the aftermath of the terror strike in a Dhaka restaurant.

The Assam Police had in April arrested seven persons, all suspected members of a module of the Jamat-ul-Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) in Chirang, taking the total number of such arrests to 29 since September last year.

Their interrogation has led the police in unearthing a module which had set up a physical training camp in Amguri in addition to the Daukhanagar arms training camp that was busted in September last year.

The Bangladesh minister during his India visit called on Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and other senior officials, including think-tanks and intellectuals.

Referring to the issue of terrorism, Inu said that terrorism in Bangladesh has connection with Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistani spy agency, the ISI. He, however, ruled out any Islamic State (IS) connection in the recent attacks in Bangladesh.

“Terrorism in Bangladesh is home-grown. And of the 43 attacks on bloggers and social activists in the last few months, investigations revealed that 90 per cent of those attackers have their roots in the Jamaat or Chhatra Shibir,” he said. “Anybody showing a black flag (with the IS symbol) does not ascertain the IS connection,” he added.

The visiting minister said that terrorism and communalism together is a political phenomenon and “not at all a law and order issue.” He said terrorism and communalism could be “pushed back with right and proper flow of information.”

Naidu and Inu agreed that it was about time to combat terrorism using pronged strategy. Inu also said India and Bangladesh will jointly produce a documentary film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “To combat destruction of history and stop false propaganda, we (India-Bangladesh) will jointly produce a documentary film on the 1971 Liberation War. Later on, feature films on the Liberation War will also be made,” he said.

The Bangladesh minister said that they have asked the Indian Government for details of all 8,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh. “All the 8,000 Indian soldiers will be recognised who stood for the Liberation War,” Inu said.

He said India and Bangladesh will also organise film festivals in each other’s country. The documentary film on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu in 2020 and 50 years of Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 2021.

“We will rediscover Bangladesh and we will rediscover history. It will destroy terrorism and communalism too,” Inu said.

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