chapter  4
20 Pages

Who are the militants?

ByZAYADUL AHSAN, PAVITRA BANAVAR

Since Bangladesh gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971, it has steadily made progress towards being a moderate and democratic country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s this progress stagnated due to “a combination of political violence, weak governance, poverty, corruption, and rising Islamist militancy.” 1 These issues remained the key impediments on the path towards democratization and political stability in Bangladesh. The emergence of Islamist parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) as important political actors and their participation in the coalition government headed by the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) (2001-6) have allowed the Islamist militant groups to operate more freely.