Dhaka condemns eidgah terror attack as ‘anti-Islam, anti- government’

NEW DELHI (TIP): As Dhaka reeled under another terror attack at the biggest Eid gathering in the country, Bangladesh government believes this is an attempt to destabilize the Sheikh Hasina government in the garb of Islamism.

Speaking to TOI from Dhaka, Hasanul Haq Inu, information minister, said, “These attackers are monsters in the garb of Islamism. This is a political move, aimed at toppling the Hasina government.” He said the security forces were largely successful in limiting the damage of the attack, though two police officers had died.

“We have been able to capture three attackers, they are being interrogated now. This is a recurring pattern,” he said, denying the presence of transnational groups. “They are anti-Islam, anti-religion and anti-government,” he said.

While there was no immediate claim, it was no coincidence that the Sholakia Eidgah mosque near Kishoreganj, some 130km from Dhaka, was targeted. The imam who led the prayers, Maulana Fariduddin Masud, has been a vocal opponent of Islamist terror. Earlier this year, he led a fatwa campaign against militancy, which was signed by over one lakh clerics. His Eid congregation on Thursday was over three-lakh strong.

Coming a week after the attack in a Dhaka cafe, which has been claimed by ISIS, Thursday’s attack has rattled Bangladesh, which has seen a string of targeted assassinations lately.

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In New Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee condemned the attack saying, “I condemn the perpetrators of this attack in the strongest of terms. This is the second terrorist attack in a week occurring in Bangladesh. The (Bangladeshi) people and government are engaged in a brave struggle against the evil forces of extremism and violence. The government of India will strongly stand by our brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in this fight. We will extend every support possible to enable the Bangladesh government to defeat these forces whose goal is to spread hatred, chaos and instability.”

Security sources close to Sheikh Hasina said on condition of anonymity that her government has decided to take a much stronger stand against this kind of violence.

After initial questioning of the captured attackers, it transpired that one of the attackers is a local who belongs to Dhaka or one of its suburbs, and another is from Dinajpur. Security sources said they had recovered firearms and machetes from them.

Sources from the site said there were about 6-10 attackers. Among them, one was apprehended by the police when he was caught carrying a machete. The person tried to strike a policeman while the other opened fire.

Security officials said the intention of the attackers seemed to be to enter the namaz ground and unleash mayhem there. However, the incident happened around 500 yards away from the namaz ground.

“Two policemen, an attacker and a woman were killed during the attack,” the country’s national police spokesman AKM Shahidur Rahman told agencies. “Nine policemen were also injured. They are in a critical condition and have been shifted to a military hospital in Dhaka.”

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