BDR Mutiny – Teaching a Lesson to Army?

Published on Sunday, March 1, 2009

By Monsur Ibrahim

We have seen August 1975 killings when Father of the Nation and President Sk. Mujib was killed by a fraction of our army. In that incident they indiscriminately killed innocent women, children, infants and pregnant wife of Sk. Fazlul Haque Moni – the mother of current parliament member barrister Fazle-Noor-Taposh. The killers didn't spare Sultana Kamal, Jamal's wife, Begum Mujib and toddler Russel. They killed an infant in Serniabat's family.

We have seen November 1975 killings when our four national leaders who led the war of liberation were mercilessly killed in jail along with killing of freedom fighter army officers Brig. Khaled Musharraf and Col. Haider, We have seen how political stimulation among soldiers got officers killed indiscriminately

We have seen indiscriminate September 1977 killings of air force officers in Dhaka during Japan Airline hijacking by Japan 's Red Army at Dhaka airport. Almost all of our senior air force officers were gunned down by fellow 'rebel' army. I would like to mention here the role of the then GOC Jessore Mir Shawkat Ali (now retd Major General of BNP) who was summoned to tackle the mutiny. I'll discuss his 1977 role when I mention his recent comment on BDR mutiny.

We have seen August 21, 2004 grenade attack and indiscriminate killing of Awami League (AL) people and an attempt to kill all senior leaders of AL including Sk. Hasina.

And now, we are seeing the barbarian killing of army officers by fraction of BDR. The cruelty and vindictive attitude in this killing has taken a new pattern that we have experienced in recent past history of Bangladesh .

How Sk. Hasina Govt. handled the situation?

There has been appreciations and some criticism how government handled the situation. Apart from local and foreign news media, the common people of Bangladesh appreciated Prime Minister's (PM) role in successfully ending the mutiny. BNP, Gen. Mir Sawkat and DGFI chief directly and indirectly criticized for not allowing army to take action.

BNP and madam Khaleda was silent during the major events.. None of BNP's leaders went to the scene rather than their local leaders & supporters bringing out procession in favor of BDR. Hasina decided for political resolution instead of military one. Madam Khaleda criticized general amnesty and not allowing army action. Gen. Mir Sawkat criticized for not allowing army action. DGFI Chief Brig. Gen. Mahmud Hussain indirectly criticized the political solution and mentioned about hidden grievances among the army.

BNP's reaction –reasonable?

Now we know that all killings were done between 10am and 11am. What would immediate army action achieve then? Killing of more officers inside BDR headquarter and their family members? Those who came out alive would have most probably be killed too. Not all BDRs were involved and some of the alive army officers gave that testimony how those DDR soldiers sheltered them and saved their lives. Army was charged by emotion as described by DGFI chief and they would have taken revenge meaning killing of BDRs in the same manner. That way even innocent and good BDRs would have been killed too. Finally, what would happen if the fight spread over that busy thickly populated area? How many civilians would have been killed? Also, think of the impact of a permanent hate relation between Army and DBR would persist. Would it be good for a nation or a seed for future similar events? Looks like that is what all BNP wanted to happen because that would jeopardize AL government..

Gen. Mir Sawkat's comment – intentional?

Gen. Sawkat criticized for not allowing instant army action. Everything mentioned earlier do not seem that would have been a better idea. If anyone remembers or still has he chance to read newspapers from Sept 28 to October 07, 1977, you will see how Mr Sawkat with his soldiers mysteriously arrived in every killing seen just after killings were successfully done. His rapid action in 1977 did not save our air force officers and we were left virtually without any officer in air force. He had the power, assignment and force but yet he could not save a single air force officer from being killed. The 1977 newspapers still show his picture in front of slain senior air force officer Rush Masud. Mr. Sawkat was alleged to be behind a coup against Zia during the JAL hijacking incident. Yesterday he said army can do anything if they were allowed instant action. But Mr. Sawkat, your army under your leadership couldn't save our air force officers in 1977. Not to mention army killed Presidents Mujib and Zia too. If army can do everything, why they couldn't save the presidents or they killed them intentionally? In either case, either army cannot do everything or they are also killers.

DGFI Chief's statement – does it help the situation?

After the mutiny was apparently over, army chief Gen. Moin gave a very nice statement against rumors. He said about the army, its role in freedom fight and described it as peoples' army. His appeal was very good and relevant to situation. It would calm every one. I do not think there can be a better statement than Gen. Moin's to calm the situation among the army. DGFI chief's statement was provocative and I am not sure if that was mere innocent selection of words or intentional. He too criticized political solution and said, army was very highly charged but they are disciplined and that is why still silent. He also said, only exemplary punishment could calm the army community.

DGFI chief's own statement tells us that if army could get a chance to take action, they would have taken revenge of the killings meaning more innocent bloodshed from both sides and civilians. Gen. Mahmud is right about grievances and exemplary punishment. May I humbly remind Gen. Mahmud that the whole Bengali nation has also severe grievance about the barbarian killing of 1975 when fraction of their army killed innocent and pregnant women, kids and infants and the father of the nation. How do nation feel when instead of exemplary punishment the killers were rewarded by subsequent military ruler? Mr. Mahmud needs to look into mirror before criticizing Sk. Hasina's decision. Today Gen. Mahmud is angry against BDR but the Bengali nation has been angry with the army for their barbarian killings in 1975.

What is behind BDR mutiny?

What actually happened and who is behind this? Why all on a sudden BDR grievances are so high that they have to kill army officers indiscriminately, rape their family and mutilate their bodies? Why so much hate? Why such brutal revenge? Is it possible for common soldiers to go to this extent of raping family members and mutilate their bodies? We know from history that in 1975 army also killed indiscriminately but they didn't insult bodies like this. According to retired general Amin Chy, these BDR soldiers were young and were new recruits during the last 7-8 years without even complete training.

This is a serious allegation and we need to see the consequences of immature partisan actions by governments. BNP-Jamat government recruited police from their student organizations and offered ranks without completion of training in Sardah. We have seen some of those cops mercilessly beating opposition leaders and journalists. Some of them were involved in big robberies. We remember how a police officer punched a senior journalist in Chittagong during an international sports event. We have seen how pro BNP-Jamat bureaucrats gathered at BNP's energy advisor Mr. Mahmud's house during care taker government in an attempt to help BNP engineer the election. We have seen a desperate President Yajuddin self demoted himself to chief of care taker government position in order to engineer election for BNP. We have seen how army-backed interim government tried to keep Hasina abroad and destroy her party. We have seen repeated mention of 1/11 justifying army backed government. But all quests went in vein and people didn't forget the misrule of BNP-Jamat. All attempts to minimize BNP's bad image didn't work and AL came to power. According to Gen. Amin, the BNP-Jamat recruit BDRs from party caders seem to be behind this. They are angry because of the role of army they couldn't have the engineered election and they want army to be punished. It is hard for madam Zia to digest the fate of her sons. Her heir Tarek is in exile and Koko is going to face corruption charges.

Is this an attempt to teach a lesson to army because BNP-Jamat could recapture power if army didn't interfere with Yajuddin as chief of care taker government? If army didn't interfere, Yajuddin wouldn't declare emergency and BNP-Jamat could takeover again by engineering and force. Is this BNP's vindictive attitude reflected in BDR mutiny killings? We have seen how they literally kicked out their party's cofounder President B. Chy because he as President wanted to behave non-partisan. How he was attacked after forming a new party breaking with BNP and how his home was set into fire with gun powder and he was luckily saved.

We have seen how BNP humiliated handicapped freedom fighter and Army Chief Gen. Nasim because apparently he didn't listen to Tarek Rahman's orders and kicked him out of his position. We have seen the same inhuman attitude in 2004 Aug 21 grenade attack on AL rally and the reluctance to bringinging killers to justice.

I know many good BNP supporters will not feel good but all I am saying is, has Gen. Amin's comment got point? We are seeing the same vindictive attitude and merciless behavior. If this was an attempt to teach a lesson to the army even at the cost of national disaster, it is sad. The BDR mutiny is a sad lesson for everyone and irrespectivee of political affiliation, we must resist similar future event. No matter how much in denial we are, these incidents are definitely backed by some eveil people among us. For them, everyone in the party or community get defamed. My main intent is to point out if any bad element is hiding in any party and unmask them. Every party and organization must come clear and get rid of such eveil components once for all. Otherwise, we shall never prosper as a nation.

It is also time that government unmasks and takes severe action whoever is behind this. AL learnt enough lessons since 1975 and if they still are not serious, another huge disaster might be waiting for them.

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