Avijit’s assassination like such similar other acts of brutality, has unnerved a lot of people. Participation in the CPB-BSD organized demonstration soon after the murder (although it was announced before the killing, but to oppose recent killing spree) demanding stopping the violence that has engulfed the country shows the extent of outrage among people. Those who are agitating against violence, demanding immediate arrest of the assassins, etc., are reacting to the horror of the moment (justifiably). It would be however a dangerous lapse of memory to not pay attention to the context, i.e., the big picture, within which this and all the other atrocities being committed in the name of opposition to the current government policies. It is this that is providing cover to the carnage.
We must not forget what this is related to: the openly stated goal of the Islamists – creation of a theological state in Bangladesh. Few years ago, several Islamist leaders used to talk about it openly, but now they do not; head of the Khalifat Mr. Abu Baqar now has taken over that task. The in-country leadership of the Khalifat is working on implementation. Killing Avijit may in part, be a demonstration of their preparedness, to themselves and to anyone else paying attention. Indication of a well planned agenda to be implemented over time are well known: they have built a solid financial system and are able to fund all their activities, having made inroads in banking and the business world in general; they have successfully established a parallel, independent, fully controlled education-cum-cadre recruitment system, where ideological indoctrination with education in knowledge of human anatomy’s most vulnerable components that is suitable for finishing someone off in under 3-minutes, bomb making, etc., are taught. It is emblematic of their skill, success and doggedness. Most important is the success in indoctrination, where they teach that dying in the sacred duty of establishing the Khalifat is what their creator desires. They have learned to create organizations to reside among the universities unnoticed, but able to spring into action when opportunity presents itself; reports on Avijit’s killing demonstrate that they are experts in sophisticated surveillance techniques; they are disciplined and well-coordinated. They have infiltrated government agencies (facilitated by recognition of their ability to recite holy scriptures as proof of their level of education to claim bachelor’s and master’s degrees earned by students in regular institutions), police forces, military, institutions, major political parties, etc. They have stockpiled arms and ammunitions, created safe-houses across the borders, etc., etc. It is amazing how people forget that their success in altering the founding assumptions of the hard fought country codified in the original constitution, and how they were able to do so through execution of just the right amount of pressure and manipulation (of willing political leaders). Everyone has underestimated them, fallen in their traps including those well intentioned ‘intellectuals’, who seem to think that being able to listen to Rabindra sangeet is proof that Islamists pose no threat. I think Avijit had a different perspective on this.
The political effort of creating a theocracy is growing like a cancer within the body of Bangladesh, and it may be too far gone – one can never be too sure about it. Outrage, demonstrations, marches, demands, etc. are necessary, but not sufficient. It is ok to demand banning Jamat, as long as one remembers that the problem has gotten a lot more complicated. It is advisable to remind ourselves that those who are driven by the conviction, or, are at least able to convince the vulnerable that it is god’s will they are fighting for, there is nothing that will discourage or stop them. This is an intractable problem, this cancer we have allowed to grow in us. If anything is to be done about it, it has to be different. To keep doing the same thing and expecting different result is a sign of insanity, they say.
By the way, the implications are dire not only for Bangladesh, but for the region. So, folks at home and in the neighborhood might want to pay attention before it is too late….