No IS presence in Bangladesh: IGP

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Dhaka, March 13: Rejecting Gunaratna claim that it was Islamic State (IS) involvement in attacking Gulshan café –Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Haque on Monday said that there is no existence of IS in the country but they may have links with local militants

Speaking at a press conference in the capital’s Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Shahidul was making rebuttal of the statement of a Singapore-based extremism expert, Rohan Gunaratna.

He said that the home-grown militants might have connections with the international terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) group on the internet.

The police chief, howevr, added that the law enforcers have got no evidence of home-grown militants taking training visiting the IS-dominated region.

Gunaratna, the head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), told a three-day international conference on Sunday that it was international terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) group which carried out the attack on Gulshan cafe on 1 July last year.

“But, unfortunately the Bangladeshi political leadership did not tell the truth that the group operating is IS. I am telling you the truth as a specialist.”

Gunaratna also expressed his views that the Bangladesh authorities should not have waited for the commando force to resist the militants who kept hostage about 30 people inside the cafe.

Bangladesh Police in collaboration with Interpol has organised the three-day conference at the Sonargaon Hotel being participated by chiefs of police and other law enforcement agencies of South Asia and the neighbouring countries.

In reference to Gunaratna’s claim, the IGP said many of the militants have been arrested, but none of them has told the law enforcement that they are IS operatives.

Shahidul said all of them claimed to be members of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The claim of the police boss was, however, not possible to verify independently.

“None of them left Bangladesh to join the IS-sponsored training. They, however, might have presence in the virtual world, might have networks [with IS], might have connections on the Facebook and social media. It is their own,” said Shahidul.

He said calling the local terrorists IS operatives is a “baseless propaganda”.

About Gunaratna’s claim, Shahidul said, “Rohan is neither a police officer nor an army officer. He doesn’t work on security issues at field level. He is a university researcher. He doesn’t even know the context of this country.”

He, however, said the home-grown terrorists might have been encouraged/imbued with the IS ideology, reports agency.

He also said the police don’t endorse the claim of Rohan Gunaratna regarding the IS link in Holey Artisan attack.