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For the past four years at least, Bangladesh has been expressing concern over Bangladeshi radical Islamists crossing the porous India-Bangladesh border and setting up base in West Bengal, apparently with local political patronage. Their movement to safe havens in West Bengal was a direct consequence of the Awami League government’s crackdown on organisations that had a history of “collaboration” with the Pakistan state during the Liberation War of 1971. If some of the disclosures in the media of the investigations into the Saradha chit fund collapse are to be believed, the sanctuary in West Bengal wasn’t entirely governed by misplaced humanitarianism. There are now suggestions that the masterminds of the ponzi scheme despatched gunny sacks of Indian currency to Bangladesh for hawala transactions to a third country. The allegation that Islamist political outfits in Bangladesh were the facilitators of hawala is serious. It would suggest that there are politicians in West Bengal and, perhaps, even linked to the governing establishment who are entirely at ease compromising national security for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.
Swapan Dasgupta

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