March 02, 2009

BDR Massacre, Searching for the Truth

Yesterday another body was found washed out from sewerage. So far the death toll from the BDR rebellion has risen to 74 and 71 army officers still missing. It was in reality not a mutiny but pre-planned attack and pre-meditated murder, which was later revealed. Bangladesh is mourning and the TV channels are broadcasting worries, pains and tears of the families. Wives lost their husbands, children their fathers and parents their sons on whom they depend. Its really a grim situation. These scenes are unbearable and you can't stop your tears watching them.

This had put a negative effect on everybody and some are confused. The BDR jawans were heroes on the first day but turned to notorious villains after the bodies started to be discovered. People are spontaneously showing their protests and demanding justice. There has been candle vigils in Dhaka and in a few cities across the world.

And the army is raging with anger to retaliate. There are rumors everywhere which points to the government's negotiation process and lapse of time. Some believe if army was moved in earlier they could have saved many officers. But the hard truth is coming out from eyewitnesses reported in the Daily Star:
Most of the BDR Jawaans who killed the army officers during the BDR mutiny were quite young and most of the killings were carried out and over between 10:30 to 11:00 am, immediately after the chaos started at Darbar Hall at the BDR headquarters.
The report talks about a grey-coloured pick-up approaching the Darbar Hall from the gate number 5, loaded with boxes of ammunition. The pickup was with the jawans when they carried on with their killing spree of officers in other offices.

Refuting the oppositions claim the prime minister said:
About the government's tackling of what she termed a pre-planned massacre at Pilkhana, she said the focus all along was on saving lives of thousands of innocent people.

"I opted for talks to save lives, to save the officers and their families," she said refuting claims that not resorting to force was a tactical mistake.
Shadakalo also dispels some rumors like why the light was off at night and has some questions for the investigation team:
1. What were the various intelligence agencies doing? Lt. Col. Kamruzzaman is on record that the field agents of the intelligence agencies were involved in this. Even if this is not true, this indicates a massive intelligence failure.

2. What happens to the corruption allegations? We hope that those will not be buried along with the dead bodies.

3. On March 1, 2009, the police forces of Bangladesh suddenly started receiving 100% ration, which was one of the 22 demands of the BDR. Was there any credible intelligence regarding a similar threat at the Police force? If so, from whom?
The blogger also compiles a Timeline to better understand what happened when. Here are some pictures and videos of the troubled times.

Faruq Wasif tells how emotions of common jawans and the people were manipulated with. The tragic event resulted in such an wide array of unfortunate outcomes:
BDR forces = dispersed and morally broken
Armed forces = insulted, abused, hurt and killed
The Government = support-less, embarrassed, endangered and the stability threatened
The Prime Minister = alone, burdened with her decision, under tremendous pressure and she is under threat
General public = hurt, confused, without direction and totally unaware of the plans of the real culprits

So this is the state of the nation. What threat lies ahead is uncertain to many.
The Indian media is indicating that Jammat and BNP lawmaker Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury are involved. Ananda Bazar Patrika reported that the BDR rebel chief DAD Towhid is a Jamaat member.

Because of these bizarre events Maskwaith Ahsan terms this massacre as a sinister design to portray Bangladesh as a ‘Failed State’.

Mash points out the challenges Bangladesh government is facing:
When a crisis strikes in a country like Bangladesh, the civilian government usually faces two main challenges. First, it must deal with the crisis itself. Second, it must deal with the ever present possibility that the army may intervene and take control of the government.
According to the Daily Star:
The government today decided to deploy the members of the armed forces across the country to arrest the fugitive rebels of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and seize missing firearms.

A home ministry official preferring anonymity said the troops would be deployed in aid of the civil administration under the ‘Operation Rebel Hunt.’

“Army will help the police to arrest the rebels and seize their arms,” the official told The Daily Star last night.

He said the army would be withdrawn after having the situation under control.
Mash also terms this as a very troubling development. The blogger says:
The army is being deployed for law enforcement purposes across the country on a mission to hunt down those that have killed the army’s own. This holds the potential for further bloodshed. [..] In an atmosphere where the army ranks are in a mood for revenge, putting them in charge of hunting down the perpetrators is ill advised. The urge for revenge combined with the natural and historical urge of the army to take control make for a volatile situation.


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