February 25, 2009

BDR Revolt Updates

First of all check my roundup in Global Voices Online.

Update 1:

Unheard Voice reports:

2AM: Fazle Nur Taposh, Sahara Khatun and the chief of Police went inside BDR compound to start the process of surrendering. Bangladesh TV cameraman has been called inside the BDR compound.

3AM: The jawans have started surrendering arms to Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun. The Daily Prothom Alo confirms BDR DG Shakil is dead, more than 15 killed. The officers’ families are getting out through Police ambulance.

4AM: Fresh gunshots heard. Its not over yet.

4:10AM Around 50 dead inside the BDR HQ. Taposh taking two buses inside to get the families out. BDR DG’s wife possibly released as well. Another released hostage said that officers’ houses were bombed and cars destroyed.

Army is kept out carefully. Politicians and police chief involved only.

4:27AM The jawans are finished surrendering. Now the tricky part. What to do with them? There are 3300 of them.

Main Report:

The Daily Star interviewed some rebel BDR personnel to learn how it all started:
The DG raised before the Prime Minister only two demands of the army officers in BDR but none of the demands of the lower tier personnel. This intensified our grievance.

when the DG started delivering his speech before 9:00am, a few BDR personnel created a commotion from the rear. The officers, sitting in the front row reacted to their unruly behaviour.

The disgruntled jawans asked the DG about the profit made during the Dal-Bhaat programme. They said after the programme ended, they were told that they would receive bonuses from the profit. Accordingly they had put their signatures on money receipts, but never got the money, claimed the mutineer.

The mutineer said, “At one stage, an officer fired a shot injuring a jawan. Then the lower tier personnel went out of the Darbar Hall and returned there with arms from the Pilkhana armoury and held the officers hostage at gunpoint.”
However the army is denying that anyone has been shot. “Was that a blank fire? An intimidation that provoked?” Surely we know how the armed forces people treats the BDR jawans.

The situation is far from over and still volatile. Rumors are that some of the 40 odd army officers (and some of their family) stationed inside the BDR compound may have been killed. We have then a hostage situation with dead hostages. So an army repercussion may be imminent.

Updates from Unheard Voices Blog:

BDFact says:
It is learnt BDR troops is not likely to surrender arms to night.

Some technical difficulties arose as to whom they will surrender arms as chain of command is fully broken and they are not willing to surrender arms to military.

This was complicated further by a rumor that a group of army commando is on its way from Sylhet to BDR HQ.

Tonight is a night of many probabilities.
Fariha questions why Army was there first to quell the mutiny:
For the army to use a chopper, ack acks and other ammunition to fire in a civilian dominated area in a democratic country is unnatural. We’re just asking for some transparency. Who ordered the army to come to BDR? And why the army and not police?
Globetrotter says:
I have this sneaky suspicion (I hope I’m wrong) that the BDR jawans who led the mutiny won’t lay down their arms. They’ve already killed their officers, so they know that they will have to face the music from the army.
Meanwhile Shahidul Alam has posted some photos from the ground and unbelievable videos:


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