India has enjoyed strong influence over the ruling elite of Bangladesh since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 as India trained Mukti Bahini and supported insurgency against the government and armed forces in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Although, one section of the people in Bangladesh carried anti-Indian sentiments most of the people considered India as a good trading partner of Bangladesh. As India had significantly played its role in the creation of Bangladesh, overtly and covertly, therefore the government of Bangladesh hoped that the presence of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at the 50th independence anniversary celebrations of Bangladesh would be momentous. But, it did not turn out as expected.
Mr. Modi arrived in Dhaka for a two-day visit on 26 March, Bangladesh’s Independence Day. It also coincided with the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founder and father of the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. Leaders of the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal were all guests of honor at the event. But Mr. Modi’s visit, which was meant to make the 10-day long celebrations memorable but it resulted in massive protests. The protests were led by Islamists, students of madrassas (religious schools), and left-wing groups opposed to Mr. Modi’s visit to Bangladesh. They accused him of pursuing anti-Muslim policies. Those who organized the rallies and even supporters of the ruling Awami League have accused security forces of brutally attacking protesters.
Mr. Modi’s fascist policies have made him a polarising figure not only at home but abroad as well and the protests in Bangladesh can be taken as a glaring example in this regard. The Modi-led regime in India should learn lessons from these protests and give up on the suicidal path. The people of the South Asian Region will never accept the fascists’ leaders. If the Modi-led government does not rid of Hindutva-inspired and hegemonic policies, it will achieve nothing but increased polarization inside India and beyond.