Lutfozzamab Babar in a court in Bangladesh
Lutfozzamab Babar in a court in Bangladesh

Countering terrorism is one of the top-most priorities to any of the governments in India. Be it Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Indian National Congress (INC), terrorism remains a major headache to each of them, especially because of Pakistan patronized militancy within Jammu and Kashmir as well as threats posed by separatist groups within the northeastern states. Ever since the independence of India, we are facing threats of militancy from a hostile neighbor like Pakistan, which had hands behind all of the terrorist attacks in India, including the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. During this attack, which also is known as 26/11, a series of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militancy organization based in Pakistan, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday 26 November and lasted until Saturday 29 November 2008. At least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, The Oberoi Trident, The Taj Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, The Nariman House Jewish community center, the Metro Cinema, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj Hotel had been secured by the Mumbai Police Department and security forces. On 29 November, India’s National Security Guards (NSG) conducted ‘Operation Black Tornado’ to flush out the remaining attackers; it culminated in the death of the last remaining attackers at the Taj Hotel and ended the attacks.

Pakistan condemned the attacks. Ajmal Kasab disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, among others. The Government of India said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan, and Pakistan later confirmed that the sole surviving perpetrator of the attacks was a Pakistani citizen. On 9 April 2015, the foremost ringleader of the attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was granted bail against surety bonds of ₨ 200,000 (US$1,900) in Pakistan.

While Pakistan has always been extremely hostile towards India, our friendly neighbor Bangladesh has always been sincerely cooperation in us in fighting

Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Although the Indo-Bangladesh cooperation in this particular field has reached a newer height ever-since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed government in 2009, the previous government of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had also been substantially cooperative. It should be mentioned here that, ULFA leader Anup Chetia was arrested in Bangladesh during the tenure of BNP. Moreover, BNP’s state minister for home affairs, Md. Lutozzaman Bazar had greatly contributed to boosting relations between the two countries. He also has attained appreciation from the United States for his undeterred commitment to fighting terrorism and militancy. It should be mentioned here that, Mr. Babar played key-role behind the arrest of Mufti Abdul Hanna, one of the most notorious fugitive members of Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (HUJI-B), while he also had succeeded in brilliantly nabbing top-most kingpins of Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB). Additionally, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the elite force of Bangladesh Police was his brainchild. It is known to everyone, RAB has tremendous success in combating terrorism and militancy as well it has played a key role in dismantling bases of anti-India terrorist outfits inside Bangladesh.

But unfortunately, a real friend of India and the West, Md. Lutfozzaman Babar has become a victim of a conspiracy, most possibly of Pakistan, and has been languishing in Bangladesh prison facing several charges and convictions in false cases. Policymakers in New Delhi in particular need to take note of it.

Kamlesh Singh is a retired civil servant.

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