Bangladesh is fast slipping into a vicious cycle of fundamentalism with the connivance of the ruling party. Rezwan points out that the recent stabbing of a Dhaka academic is only the latest incident in a spiralling cycle putting society on the verge of Talibanisation.
India should intervene. In the past, Indira Gandhi gave the green signal for a military intervention after a full fledged genocide carried out by the Pakistani army and its affiliated thugs. That came too late for millions of intellectuals, professionals and common Bengalis. This time though, the intervention must be diplomatic and very low profile.
The worst part of India-Bangladesh relations is a perception on both sides that India is ‘bullying’ its smaller neighbour. Many Indians argue that India should not ‘bully’ its smaller neighbour and let it sort out its own affairs. That line of thinking leads us right down to Haiti. Similarly, many Bangladeshis rightly argue that India must respect Bangladesh’s sovereignty and take care to check its own saffron zealots. But that does not mean Bangladesh gains anything by being unable to fend off fundamentalist radicals that add more sinister edge to its corrupt politics.
India must have a healthy bilateral relationship with Bangladesh. But that does not mean imposing a self-imposed blindness to its internal affairs. After all, should there be a political or humanitarian crisis it is India which will need to respond first and furthermost.