National Interest: Dear Narendrabhai

And you want to know how fragile these gains are? The first radical to be convicted and given the death sentence, Abul Kalam Azad, the red-bearded ideologue better known as Bachchu Razakar or Lal Daadhi, has already escaped, and where else but to Pakistan, now harboured by the jihadis there. Scores of others, under trial now, are praying for the defeat of Hasina's Awami League this winter and the rise on the streets of a group called Hefazat-e-Islam, which grew, like much Bangladeshi radicalism, from Chittagong and whose 13-point charter is borrowed straight from the Taliban. I may or may not agree with you, Narendrabhai, but I know you believe you are being swept to power next summer. What kind of Bangladesh would you rather be dealing with on your eastern borders? You have an opportunity to determine that now. And even your critics and adversaries, even the minorities that fear you, will bless you for this, hailing it as a great act of liberal foresight and a signal of your arrival as a truly national leader, and a patriot.

sg@expressindia.com

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