In the wake of Bangladesh executing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Qadir Mullah, for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, India fears Islamic terrorist groups targeting Indian interests in the region, including Sri Lanka.
A gravely concerned Indian External Affairs Ministry has urged several South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka to provide enhanced security to Indian diplomatic missions.
Bangladesh executed Mullah on Dec 12. The 65-year-old politician is the first person convicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to be executed.
The ICT was set up in 2010 to investigate abuses committed during the 1971 war. India militarily intervened in support of those who had fought for the creation of Bangladesh.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently told a defence seminar in Colombo of the possibility of some international extremist Muslim elements exploiting the Muslim community here to their advantage. The Defence Secretary’s remarks drew angry reactions from some Muslim political leaders, including some of those representing the SLFP-led ruling coalition.
India called for enhanced security for various establishments in the South Asian region, including Sri Lanka, in the wake of the Pakistan national assembly condemning the execution of Mullah, accused of collaborating with the Pakistani army during the war. He was called the butcher of Mirpur.Authoritative sources told The Island that the External Affairs Ministry had received a warning from the Indian High Commission in Colombo that Islamic terrorist groups operating in the South Asian region could target the Indian HC in Colombo, the assistant HC in Kandy and Consulates of India in Hambantota and Jaffna.
After having received intelligence warnings of possible attacks on its nationals both in the country as well as in the South Asian region, India was taking counter measures, sources said.
A senior official told The Island that terrorism remained a major threat in the region, though Sri Lanka succeeded in eradicating the LTTE in May 2009.
Asked whether the government would address India’s security concerns, the official said that Sri Lanka remained committed to the safety and security of all foreign diplomatic staff serving in Sri Lanka.
India also maintains a sizeable security contingent in Sri Lanka for the protection of its diplomatic staff and property. (The Island)