Saturday, February 25, 2012

Motive Of Gruesome BDR Carnage Still A Mystery

The nation recalls with a heavy heart the black day of carnage at Peelkhana Headquarters of BDR on 25 February 2009 as it pays homage on Saturday to the army officials brutally killed by a number of disgruntled members of BDR - later renamed Border Guard Bangladesh.

Motive behind the gruesome massacre is yet to be unearthed.

At least 74 people including 57 army officials, deputed to the paramilitary force, were brutally slain in the 36-hour bloody mutiny by troops at Durbar Hall as the celebration of BDR Week was in progress at Peelkhana.

The then BDR Director General, Major General Shakil Ahmed and his wife were among those ruthlessly executed in the carnage.

The mutiny ended the following day with the surrender by the rebels.

The slain officers and their near ones were buried at Banani Graveyard.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh National Awami Party in a statement called upon the people to observe 25 February as the national day of mourning while Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik Andolan at a discussion in the city demanded of the government to identify the plotters behind the tragedy.

                                     PLOT BEHIND BLOODBATH STILL A MYSTERY

Even threes years into this unprecedented bloodbath, conspiracy behind this gruesome plot remains a mystery. The plotters have not been identified as yet although 3,036 soldiers have already been sentenced to varying terms on charge of taking up arms while trial of 847 others, including 23 civilians, on criminal charges, including murder, is going on.

In total, 57 army officers, a retired army official, wives of two army officers, 9 BDR soldiers, 5 civilians, an army soldier and a police constable -- were brutally killed on 25-26 February three years back when the soldiers took up arms against their officers from the army.

The Government Investigation Committee, headed by former Scretary Anis-uz-Zaman Khan, submitted its report to the Home Ministry on 21 May 2009. The army "Court of Inquiry" submitted its report to the army chief on 10 May 2009.

The reports have not yet been made public.

Odhikar, the rights watchdog, in its annual report, noted that "the manner of the BDR trials to date has seen various miscarriages of justice.

"The code of conduct of trials in the BDR special courts poses serious problems with soldiers with no legal training having to represent them in an apparently biased court," it read.

The Odhikar report further observed: "What little legal assistance is allowed has been hampered due to lack of privacy."

Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Md Jahrul Haque, meanwhile, is trying 824 soldiers and 23 civilians, including former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu and local Awami League leader Torab Ali, also the-then president of BDR Welfare Association for Retired Members, on charges of criminal offences, including murder, committed at the now Border Guard Headquarters in Dhaka during the rebellion.

The court has so far recorded depositions of 45 prosecution witnesses out of the total 1,345 since 24 August 2011, when the trial began.

According to media reports, some 69 border guards have meanwhile died in custody across the country after the mutiny.

The authorities claimed that most of the soldiers had died of various diseases while others had committed suicide. The families, however, claimed that the soldiers had been tortured to death.

Odhikar report noted that 51 BDR men were killed from March to December in 2009.

Besides, some 534 soldiers were released following completion of their jail terms.

According to available information the trial is expected to be completed by August 2012.