Bangladesh has been subjected to relentless barrages of psychological warfare, astutely even if vilely, conducted by the Indian external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Sometimes the targets are individuals, sometimes political parties, sometimes business houses, and finally the target is the nation-state itself. The hidden purpose is always to create confusion and to implant seeds of doubt and diffidence in the public mind in Bangladesh.
The suggestion sought to be conveyed to both people in this country and to the world at-large is that Bangladesh lacks both merit and resources, as well as honourable leaders to be able to survive as an independent nation-state. Right after independence, RAW recruits of the Indian intelligentsia never tired of whispering to the ears of gullible Bangladeshi economists and politicians that Bangladesh is not a viable country economically, and can only exist by jumping on the Indian bandwagon as a client state or be Sikkimised.
The-then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s faux pas that Bangladesh was a “bottomless basket” case for international charity continued to be rubbed in year after year, claiming invasion by crores of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants burdening Indian economy, by the RAW-inspired media circles in India. Bangladesh not only survived well over the turn of the new millennium, but also showed signs of steady growth under the socio-economic dynamics and productive enterprise of its human resource. RAW strategists may have therefore become keenly aware that relative success and prosperity of Bangladesh, geographically in its pot-belly protruding eastward, are likely to fuel further simply by its “small is beautiful” example, the simmering separatism in the Northeast Indian states. It is thus no wonder that RAW strategists have now not only stepped up its machinery of psychological warfare, but also putting into effect a carrot-and stick policy of physical denial and destabilisation on its “friendly” government now incumbent in Bangladesh.
Its insistence on continuing shoot-to-kill policy of Indian BSF at our borders turned ‘killing fields’, its dilly-dallying over the agreed Teesta water-sharing treaty, its unilateral undertaking of Tipaimukh dam to the detriment of Surma-Kushiyara-Meghna basin ecology and economy of Bangladesh, its revival of the Indian river-linking master plan to divert Brahmaputra waters to South India, and “political” warming-up for adverse revision of even the unequal 30 year Ganges Water-sharing Treaty on presumed “seepage” favouring Bangladesh at Farakka, appear designed to serve that RAW strategy of keeping Bangladesh hard-pressed under the thumb of Indian power. That strategy is embarrassing the India-friendly government in Bangladesh to no mean proportions.
In psy-war, a latest fiasco for embarrassment of the incumbent government has been caused by a scoop news almost simultaneously orchestrated in foreign as well as local media by one misinformation agent alone. The real information relates to Pakistan Supreme Court’s summons served on former ISI Chief, Lieutenant General (retired) Asad Durrani over alleged abuse of ISI funds for perversion of free and fair elections in 1991 by surreptitious financing of some chosen election candidates and political parties. In his testimony before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Durrani disclosed the list of political leaders and parties who were beneficiaries of such illicit funding. Reportedly one such political party was Baluch National Party, others were mostly prominent leaders of Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif and some Islamist parties. It was an internal matter of Pakistan over which its supreme court was adjudicating. RAW brainwave picked up the matter of Asad Durrani’s testimony to plant a fake story on Khaleej Times of Dubai that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party received funds from Pakistan’s ISI for electioneering in Bangladesh in 1991.
Government leaders in Bangladesh, including the Prime Minister, immediately started a campaign vilifying and taunting the Leader of the Opposition and her party claiming that she bought power in 1991 by money from “those who we defeated in 1971”, and that she should “go back to Pakistan.” BNP protested vehemently and challenged the scoop’s authenticity. But fake repeats of the story and chorus of condemnation of BNP and its chairperson continued inside Bangladesh parliament and in a section of national and foreign media. An end has been put to the episode by a personal interview of Lieutenant General (retd.) Asad Durrani published in a Dhaka daily stating in unequivocal terms that his testimony did not include the name of Bangladesh Nationalist Party or for that matter any foreign beneficiary at all for disbursal of ISI funds. It was entirely an internal matter of Pakistan. (Holiday’s Abdur Rahman Khan also interviewed Durrani Thursday and his report appears in today’s issue)
The manner in which the news fabrication took place has been serially described in an expose in weeklyblitz.net on March 20 as under (abridged):
“Dipanjan Roy Chowdhury, a RAW recruit who also happens to be the Delhi correspondent of a leading daily of Dhaka, was summoned by some top brasses of Research and Analytical Wing on March 2, 2012 and was escorted to New Delhi headquarters of the Indian spy agency, wherefrom he wrote the report for Khaleej Times and it was later sent to the Indian-born owners of the Dubai based newspaper with the special instruction of publishing it prominently. Subsequently, when the fabricated news appeared in Khaleej Times, some influential members of the Indian government phoned editors of two of the leading daily newspapers in Dhaka, suggesting them to give “best treatment” to the Khaleej Times news.
Of the two, the vernacular daily put further colour on the report by claiming that the news item has been published in Pakistani newspaper The News as well as a leading business daily The Business Recorder.
The same Dipanjan Roy Chowdhury in his bi-line story published in the Indian newspaper the Daily Mail [March 15, 2012] once again played his nasty news twisting game and turned the amount from Pakistan Rupees 50 million to 500 million, though in Khaleej Times he quoted the ISI boss giving Pakistan Rupees 50 million to Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Again on March 16, 2012, the same writer wrote in India Today, ‘Recently a UAE-based daily had alleged that ISI paid Rs.50 crore to BNP chairperson and former PM Khaleda Zia ahead of the 1991 elections in which the BNP won and formed the government.’
Dipanjon Roy Chowdhury in his reports in India Today and some other newspapers in India never mentioned that the source of Khaleej Times reports was none but himself. Subsequently, the Bangladeshi state-owned news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha [BSS] simply copied the entire report of India Today, without verifying the authenticity of the report.
Delhi press club rumour has it that Dipanjon Roy Chowdhury was invited by the Bangladeshi high commissioner in New Delhi and was ‘compensated’ for such ‘excellent report’. Both met at a down-town pub in New Delhi discreetly, where the Bangladeshi envoy went incognito. One of the members of the Bangladeshi ‘special family’ flew to India to meet Dipanjon Roy Chowdhury for expressing ‘gratitude’ on the Khaleej Times report.” Bangladeshi foreign minister Dr. Dipu Moni, when asked by newsmen in Dhaka about the source of that the ruling party’s claim the main opposition received ISI money, frankly admitted: “What we know is from a report run by the Khaleej Times. We have asked for a transcript of the testimony of concerned ISI Chief in Pakistan Supreme Court. We can give further information only after getting the transcript in our hands.”
The weeklyblitz.net claimed that the copy of transcript already reached the Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad on March 19, 2012 and the copy was subsequently sent to the foreign ministry. After seeing the real affidavit, the top brasses in Bangladesh Awami League have reportedly decided to “kill” the issue.
BY : Sadeq Khan.