India warns Bangladesh of threat to Sheikh Hasina

Vol 4, PW 8 (24 May 00) People & Policy

Indian intelligence officials have warned Bangladesh about a possible assasination attempt on the country's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed.

The officials, from India's external intelligence organisation, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),tell a correspondent for the BBC that they were tipped off about the plot by an overseas intelligence agency but refused to disclose its name. RAW believes that former military officers involved in the assasination of Sheikh Hasina's father, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, are behind the plot to kill her.

These officers are in hiding, though some of their colleagues are in jail in Bangladesh, facing trial for Sheikh Mujibur's assasination - an event that paved the way for a military coup in 1975. Indian officials reveal that the plot was finalised at a meeting of former military officers and opposition politicians in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka in the last week of March and finalised in late April during a second meeting at a London hotel, where some former military officers involved in the 1975 coup were present.

RAW officials said the plotters want to hire foreign mercenaries to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, using remote-controlled explosives, either when on an overseas tour or when touring an outlying district of Bangladesh. They said that a US-based Bangladesh businessman, also a former soldier, has agreed to pay off the mercenaries, who have asked for $10m.

The officials said that India has informed Bangladesh about the perceived threat to Sheikh Hasina's life. Bangladesh diplomats in India said their government was aware of the threat and that security measures for their Prime Minister have been tightened.