Dhaka: Bangladesh, world's third largest Muslim country, which was swept by a wave of Islamic militancy from 1999 to 2005, has seen an increase in terrorist activity in recent years, including attacks on foreigners, activists and religious minorities.

In an opinion piece in Global Watch Analysis, Roland Jacquard, Chairman of Roland Jacquard Global Security Consulting (RJGSC), said that in March 2021, violent demonstrations in Bangladesh, reportedly by activists of Hefazat-e-lslam (Hel), lead to deaths of four during the recent 50th anniversary celebrations of the country.

On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh was proclaimed as an independent nation by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and this led to Bangladesh Liberation War when a guerrilla war ensued between Pakistan and Bangladesh liberation forces with Indian support.

"The Hel was formed in 2010 following a move by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to abolish religious-based politics and the madrassa/religious school education in the country. In 2013, the party took up the issue of blasphemy and in a 13-point list of demands, it called for death penalty for anyone committing blasphemy. The group also asked for an end to Bangladesh's education policy, which in its view prioritized "secular" subjects like science and maths over religious studies, and called for compulsory Islamic education," Jacquard said.

His remarks come after Bangladesh made headlines, last October, when thousands of protestors came out to the streets in Dhaka to protest against France. The protesters, around 50,000 in number, were demanding the closure of the French embassy in the country. A dummy of French President Emmanuel Macron was also burnt during the protest with Junaid Babunagari, the Secretary-General of Hefazat-e-lslam - one of the biggest Islamist groups in the country - stating that "Emmanuel Macron should beg for forgiveness."