By- Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Just within less than 24 hours of Dr. Manmohan Singh’s strange and dramatic U-turn from signing the Teesta Water Sharing Treaty with Bangladesh, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI)’s name has come prominently in the Indian and international media as the main culprit behind tragic bomb blast of September 7, 2011, which killed a number of lives in New Delhi High Court premises. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina immediately after the blast expressed her profound shock and outrage over the bomb blast in Delhi that claimed at least 11 lives, saying that any act of terrorism is unacceptable and unjustifiable.
Top security experts say that Wednesday’s blast outside the Delhi High Court has exposed the loopholes in our security system which has an inadequate and incapable intelligence gathering system and a weak counter-terrorism mechanism. Ved Marwah, former governor of Manipur who was also chief of the Delhi Police, told Indian news agency IANS: “The blast points towards the loopholes in the security system itself.”
“While we look out for the terrorists responsible for the blast, we should have a look inside, into our own systems. More than the success of the terrorists, it is the weakness of our systems which cause terrorist incidents one after another.”
Ajai Sahni, director of the New Delhi-based Institute of Conflict Management, warned that more terror strikes are likely. “Because our intelligence gathering capabilities are highly inadequate,” Sahni told Indian media.
Marwah said though it was too premature to verify the claim of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) owning responsibility for the blast, it certainly “looked the handiwork of the jihadists, maybe with the help from extremists outside the country”. About the HUJI claim, Marwah said: “It is too premature to verify. In terrorism, nothing can be taken on face value and nothing can be ruled out.”
Tharakan said the initial needle of suspicion pointed to Indian Mujaheddin (IM). “The IM has a network in and around Delhi. It has been charge-sheeted for the 2008 serial blasts, the major terror strike in the capital before this,” he said. But the HUJI claim has to be trailed, he added.
Meanwhile, on his return to India, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told local media that, the West Bengal government assented to a strategic water-sharing agreement with Bangladesh before backing out of it over the weekend — and thus forcing India to resile on its international commitments.
Dr. Singh said he had consulted with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for over a month on the details of the treaty, asking National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon “to seek guidance from her.” “I was told that all technical details were sorted out,” Dr. Singh told journalists on-board his flight home from Dhaka.
Last week, the Trinamool Congress raised objections to the draft treaty at a meeting of the Cabinet’s Political Affairs Committee. “I again sent Shankar Menon to visit Kolkata,” Dr. Singh said. “He had a meeting, and what the Chief Minister said, and what Mr. Menon understood, he took to Dhaka, and the arrangement was made.”
But, Dr. Singh continued, “some other factors came up and therefore Ms. Banerjee said that she will not accompany me to Dhaka. “It was only subsequently,” he insisted, “that I learned her disagreement was on account on what we were attempting to do on the Teesta.”
Indian negotiators, a highly placed government source told Indian newspaper The Hindu, have still received no explanation for West Bengal’s eleventh-hour decision to reject the draft water-sharing treaty — making it impossible for them to explain the country’s stand to their Bangladesh counterparts or to lay the foundations for an alternative agreement.
Meanwhile, Times of India, criticizing Dhaka’s denial of signing the transit treaty as India did not keep its commitment of signing the Teesta and feni Water Sharing Treaty, wrote: “A wave of disappointment and frustration swept across Tripura as the Delhi-Dhaka talks failed to ensure transit facilities for the northeast in general and the state in particular through Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh failed to arrive at an amicable settlement of water sharing not just of Teesta but also of the Feni River that course through Tripura. But what hit the people of Tripura more was Dhaka’s denial to give transit facilities to India through its territory.”
In the same news, Times of India disclosed that, Bangladesh has already accorded transit facility to India quoting a clause of the already signed protocol which states “Movement of goods between the two countries is covered by the existing Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (IWTT) for use of waterways, Fundamental and Subsidiary Rules guiding movement of railways, ‘Standard Operating Procedures for movement of Trucks’ between LCSs and Air Services Agreement,” the MoU pointed out, adding that to restore the traditional economic and cultural links between people in adjoining states of India and Bangladesh, border haats had been established, starting with inauguration of a one such haat (temporary market) in Meghalaya.
It is strange enough to observe that, in less than 24 hours of India’s failed attempt of getting the transit treaty signed by the pro-Indian government in Bangladesh, quite dramatically HUJI’s name came as the main culprit behind the Delhi blast. Of course involvement of a notorious terror outfit like HUJI in such bombing can never be ruled out. But, the only question, which may peep into the minds of many, thinking, if Indian government has purposefully tried to bring the name of HUJI onto this incident, both with the motive of ultimately blackmailing Dhaka and getting the transit treaty signed as well as saving Sheikh Hasina government from harsh criticism from their political opponents for the recent exposition of bankrupt diplomacy. It should be recalled here that, Bangladeshi foreign minister, who was visibly jumping like an ape prior to visit of Indian Prime Minister expressing her confident hope of getting Bangladesh’s right share of water from India”, has finally been exposed to the entire nation of her bankrupt diplomacy. On the other hand, the latest diplomatic failure of the Bangladesh Awami League government is the newest feather in its cap of failures, which also includes power crisis, worst-ever law and order situation, exorbitant rise in the price of essentials, share market scam etc.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of “Weekly Blitz“. He can be reached at [email protected]