Anti-India and anti-Hindu notoriety are founding principles of ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party

General Ziaur Rahman took initiative for formation of political institutes and sponsored workshops for the youth to get active political lessons on Bangladesh nationalism by considering India as the “key enemy” of Bangladesh

India Out, Anti-India, Jihadist, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, BNP, Bangladesh, Islamist militancy, JMB, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Military dictator, Jamaat-e-Islami, Indian Army, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Military Academy, Awami League, Hefazat-e-Islam, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, TLP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, MQM

Since January 7 general elections in Bangladesh, ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the elections began “India Out” campaign with collaboration of local anti-India and jihadist groups.

The political landscape of Bangladesh has seen its fair share of changes and challenges, with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) playing a significant role in shaping the nation’s direction. In recent years, there have been growing concerns about the BNP’s alleged inclination towards Islamist militancy groups, which has raised questions about the potential consequences for the country’s security, stability, and global reputation.

Bangladesh has faced its share of challenges from various Islamist militant groups over the years. The emergence of groups like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Hizb-ut-Tahrir has raised alarm bells about the potential for radicalization and terrorism within the country. If the BNP were to align itself with such groups, it could lead to a deterioration of the nation’s security environment, potentially allowing extremist ideologies to gain traction.

After gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh adopted secularism as a core principle, ensuring equal rights for people of all faiths. However, following the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, subsequent regimes, notably that of Khondaker Mushtaq Ahmad and military dictator General Ziaur Rahman, began to steer the country towards an Islamic republic. General Ziaur Rahman, trained in Pakistan, harbored deep hostility towards India and founded the BNP with the aim of advancing anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment in Bangladesh, aligning the nation with a pseudo-Pakistani identity.

General Ziaur Rahman realigned Bangladesh’s foreign policy away from India and the Soviet bloc, strengthening ties with the United States, Western Europe, and Islamic nations. He pursued an agenda of Islamization, amending the constitution to emphasize Islamic solidarity among Muslim countries and introducing Islamic religious education as a compulsory subject for Muslim schoolchildren. The ban on Islamist and anti-Bangladesh parties and associations, including Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), was lifted during his rule.

General Zia was trained at the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad. He served as a commander of the Pakistan Army in the Second Kashmir War against the Indian Army, for which he was decorated with Hilal-e-Jurat (Crescent of Courage) award by the Pakistani government. Hilal-e-Jurat, the second-highest military award of Pakistan out of a total four awards, was created on March 16, 1957. It is considered to be equivalent to the Conspicuous Gallantry and the Distinguished Service Cross. This award holds significant benefits for the recipient including social, political and financial benefits. Land and pensions are awarded as recompense for serving in the Army of Pakistan on behalf of the State for acts of “valor and courage” during battle “against the enemy”.

Throughout his life, General Ziaur Rahman was a diehard opponent of India. With such notorious hatred towards India and also towards Hindus, General Zia founded Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) with the goal of nurturing anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment in Bangladesh and gradually advance towards serving as a pseudo part of Pakistan.

Military dictator General Ziaur Rahman began reorienting Bangladesh’s foreign policy, addressing the concerns of the mostly staunch rightists coupled with some renegade leftist who believed that Bangladesh was reliant on Indian economic and military aid. He moved away from India and the Soviet bloc, developing closer relations with the United States and Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East. General Zia also moved to harmonize ties with Saudi Arabia and China, Pakistan’s ally who had opposed Bangladesh’s creation and had not recognized it until the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975. He moved to normalize relations with Pakistan. While distancing Bangladesh from India, General Zia sought to improve ties with Islamic nations, while he had established deeper relations with Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Due to Zia’s move towards Islamic state policies brought his support and patronization from the Arab and Muslim world.

Ziaur Rahman believed that a massive section of the population was “suffering from an identity crisis, both religious and as a people, with a very limited sense of sovereignty”. To “remedy this”, he began a re-Islamization of Bangladesh. He issued a proclamation order amending the constitution, under whose basis laws would be set in an effort to increase the self-knowledge of religion and nation. In the preamble, he inserted the Islamic salutation “Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Rahim” (“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”). In Article 8(1) and 8(1A) the statement “absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah” was added, replacing the commitment to secularism.

In Article 25(2) of Bangladesh’s constitution, military dictator Zia introduced the principle that “the state shall endeavor to consolidate, preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity”.

Later, Zia introduced Islamic religious education as a compulsory subject for Muslim schoolchildren. At the birth of Bangladesh, many Islamists had supported the Pakistani Army’s fight against independence and been barred from politics with the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order of 1972. Ziaur Rahman undid this as well as the ban on Islamist and anti-Bangladesh parties and associations, including Jamaat-e-Islami.

In public speeches and policies that he formulated, General Zia began expounding ultra-Islamist and anti-India “Bangladesh Nationalism” and emphasized the national role of Islam as guide to principle of life. He even amended the constitution to change the nationality of the citizens from Bengali, an ethnic identity, to Bangladeshi while Bangladeshi nationalism excluded the country’s non-Muslim minorities, particularly the Hindu community.

After the formation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 1978, Ziaur Rahman took initiative for formation of political institutes and sponsored workshops for the youth to get active political lessons on Bangladesh nationalism by considering India as the “key enemy” of Bangladesh while he had openly propagated stating “survival of Bangladesh depends on continuous and committed confrontation with India”.

BNP’s founder General Ziaur Rahman considered Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, believed in a model of Islamic socialism, as his icon and ideological guru. Being inspired by Bhashani’s anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment, General Zia founded Bangladesh Nationalist Party with the goal of pushing further Bhashani’s anti-India and anti-Hindu notions. Until date, leaders and supporters of BNP uphold these notorious agendas while in some cases they even portray Pakistan – a country that has killed three million Bengalis during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh, as their “brethren”.

General Zia’s ideological guru Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani was pro-China and consistently criticized Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for making Bangladesh a “satellite of India” and tried to forge a coalition of the right and left extremists against the Awami League (AL). The BNP, which represents the right-of-center forces, has an orthodox social constituency inspired by Bhashani. The party is remotely controlled by its acting chairperson Tarique Rahman, Khaleda Zia’s son, from London where he is in exile. Tarique Rahman is a convicted terrorist.

As BNP’s political influence and organizational capabilities are on fast decline with majority of the leaders secretly blaming Tarique Rahman’s “reckless tendencies and childish decisions” while they also believe – unless Tarique Rahman is not replaced by another leader, BNP shall ultimately go extinct. Sitting in London, Tarique Rahman also is aware of such turbulence within his party. To recover party from current sorry state, some of the top aides of Tarique have succeeded in getting him agreed in joining “India Out” movement as they believe, this would help the party gaining mass-support. Accordingly, some of the key figures in the party, including Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury have already declared solidarity with the “India Out” campaign.

Meanwhile, one of the key allies of BNP – jihad-mongering pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) that denounces women empowerment as well as considers India, Hindus and non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam” has also openly declared solidarity with “India Out” movement.

In 2021, Mamunul Huq, a scandalous leader of Hefazat-e-Islam, told interrogators, during his 15-days stay in Pakistan, he succeeded in establishing connections with Pakistani spy agency ISI, which had assigned Mamunul in establishing a far-right Islamist political party in Bangladesh, copying ideologies of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Hefazat-e-Islam, with the funding from Pakistani ISI as well as Qatar and sources in Dubai were advancing with the agenda of emerging as a far-right Islamist political party copying ideologies of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Additionally, Hefazat was also forming a militancy group, with trained armed members from the qawmi madrassas.

It may be mentioned here that Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is a far-right Islamist political party in Pakistan. It was founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi. TLP is the organizer of 2021 Pakistani protests. The party also is known for its countrywide street power and massive protests in opposition to any change to Pakistan’s blasphemy law. TLP came into existence, and subsequently rose tos infamy, after the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, a convicted murderer, which the political party states was unjustifiable. It demands that Sharia law be established as the fundamental law in Pakistan, through a gradual legal and political process. Most of the party’s members belong to the Barelvi school of Islamic thought (madrassa).

According to media reports, Hefazat-e-Islam and its cohorts and funders were secretly working on their blueprint of unseating the Awami League government in Bangladesh for months. Prior to their anti-Modi protests in 2021, there had been a series of meetings in several madrassas in the country, where front-ranking leaders of the pro-Caliphate group, including Junaid Babunagari, Mamunul Haque and others were present. These Islamist leaders gave provocation to madrassa students to prepare for sacrificing lives in their “jihad” against the “enemies of Islam”.

This time, according to sources, leaders of Hefazat-e-Islam were looking to implement 10-points, which would enable this notorious and ferocious group in seizing power from the democratically elected government in Bangladesh. Those points are:

  1. Formation of an interim Islamic government with Junaid Babunagari as its chief. It also finalized a 10-members advisory council, comprising members from various Islamist parties, including Khelafat Majlish, Khelafat Andolan etcetera.
  2. Suspending the constitution and running the country under Islamic sharia rule.
  3. Formation of Sharia courts throughout the country by replacing the existing judicial system.
  4. Trying the members of the ruling party as well as their supporters, including editors and journalists of “secularist and atheist” media outlets.
  5. Formation of Islamic constitutional bodies with madrassa teachers, Islamic scholars and leaders of the Islamist political parties.
  6. Executing the secularists and atheists, including civil-military officials, editors, journalists, cultural activists, social activists, women activists and critics of Islamic sharia rule. It also planned to execute supporters and friends of India by branding them as “enemies of Bangladesh”.
  7. Release a list of apostates and atheists and gradually execute them through Sharia courts.
  8. Place students and teachers of Qawmi [Koranic] madrassa in various key civil, military and judicial positions in Bangladesh.
  9. Promulgate blasphemy law with the provision of death penalty.
  10. Ban television channels, radio stations, cultural groups, theater groups, cinema halls etcetera.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here