Hizb ut-Tahrir, group behind failed Bangla coup plot, growing in stature in India

NEW DELHI: Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), the aggressive political group behind the recent failed Bangladesh coup, has been active in India for at least two years.

According to sources in the Muslim community and security establishment, HT that advocates a Caliphate (Islamic state) and has figured in several controversial developments around the world has been active among Indian Muslims. The group has a particularly strong presence in the national Capital, and largely among students.

A senior Muslim leader said he was worried about the growing clout of HT among his community members. “I am aware of them organizing seminars and protests in Delhi,” he said.

Some 16 Bangladesh military officers, who were members of HT, are accused of planning to overthrow Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government. After the security agencies cracked down on the coup plotters, HT claims to have organized public speeches outside mosques across Bangladesh calling upon people to “protest against the Hasina government’s plot to subjugate the Muslim Army of Bangladesh to US-India”.

A source in the security establishment said HT may have started operations in India around 2010, but seems to have lost the momentum. According to HT’s website, its India chapter organized a demonstration in June, 2010, against Israel’s alleged atrocities. The demonstration was at Batla House, New Delhi, that was attended by about 1,000 people.

“My information is that they are not operating as a group in India because they are a political organization. Intellectual and political debate is a permissible norm but to espouse violence is absolutely not acceptable,” said Abdul Rashid Qureshi, a Supreme Court lawyer who is active in Muslim forums.

HT is banned in several countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, Germany etc, and it was banned in Bangladesh in 2009.

According to HT’s own statements in the wake of the failed Bangladesh coup, its members have been claiming that Hasina “was brought to power by the Americans, in partnership with India. The Americans have a design to prevent the return of the Islamic Khilafah in this region and contain the rise of China. For this purpose she prefers a strategic partnership with India in order to secure her strong presence in this region and tighten her grip over the Muslim countries within the region. These two enemy countries are using the government, the opposition, and some in the military leadership in Bangladesh as agents to solve the long standing issues with India which will free India’s hands.”

The HT called on “sincere officers in the army to remove Hasina and the current ruling regime from authority at once; and to transfer the authority to Hizb ut-Tahrir which is a sincere and aware political party. Hizb ut-Tahrir will establish the Khilafah state which will eject USA, Britain, India and their allies from Bangladesh. The Khilafah will build this country as the starting point for becoming a global super power. This is by securing the basic needs of the people and solving the long running problems faced by the people such as poverty and unemployment, industrializing the country’s economy, building the army as a strong and advanced fighting force, and unifying with the Muslim Ummah.”

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