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BDR mutiny-revolt against the privileged? February 25, 2009

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, BDR mutiny, GOVERNANCE.
Tags: ,

BDR staged mutiny today at their headquarter at Pilkhana in Dhaka. The revolt started in the morning when the high officials from BDR met in a meeting in the Darbar Hall and altercation resulted in shoot out and death and injuries to the uniformed personals.Many civilians were also caught in the crossfire.

It is understood that the mutiny is the outburst of the long standing frustration and discrimination of the BDR personnel from their commanders who are deputed from Army.

The government is caught off handed but is trying to pacify the situation, Home Ministers and Prime Minister herself are engaged in the negotiation and it is hoped that a settlement will come soon.

BDR demanded withdrawal of Army from the surrounding of Pilkhana and they are also not ready to surrender their arms to the army and want removal of all army officers from BDR. They also demanded general amnesty from the PM for this mutiny.

Is it a revolt against the privileged? Will it end here?

An ordinary citizen

News link:
Mutiny, bloodshed at BDR Head Quarter


1. Rezwan - February 25, 2009

Can it be a class struggle? In a way yes, but does that mean the garments worker will go rampaging on their employers for exploiting them etc.

But the BDR rebels are crying about corruption in Operation Daal Bhaat, Mistreatment, disrespect by the army etc.

The news is emerging that there was an widespread corruption inside the army during the emergency period. Chinese Milk powders (without BSTI quality certification) sold through operation Dal Bhat:


The Jawans used to term those milk powders as DG Apa’s (his wife?)

In November 2008 Wife of BDR Chief Major General Shakil Ahmed is caught with foreign currencies worth 6 crore Taka at Zia International Airport while leaving the country. Customs officers on duty at the airport doubted that she had been carrying something illegal with her and after checking her luggage they found foreign currencies of value 6 crore Bangladehi Taka. They immediately informed RAB Headquarter about this and RAB officers instructed them not to disclose the news to anybody until further instruction. After hearing the news Army Chief General Moinuddin went there himself and ceased the money and carried both the lady and money with him from the airport.

source: http://dailyalochona.blogspot.com/2008/11/re-alochona-breaking-news-wife-of-bdr.html

I want to believe that these are rumors. But a transparent investigation is required to prove these wrong.

2. Rahat Zaman - February 25, 2009

I am really worrying ….though I barely recall the 1975 mutiny, as a little kid, I saw how officers and families were scared, some were killed and I saw dead bodies at 55-C Shaheed Moinul Rd (Rupsha Barrack) in Dhaka Cantt, where my family used to live then.

There could be various reasons for this mutiny, it didnt just break out of nothing but the first part is to be on the safe side, I understand it is at times not possible in such situation though.

In general social equity is a challenge in country like Bangladesh where rich and powerful pretty much exploit commoners openly. There were lot of concerns by many belong to different walks of life bringing military corrupts to justice but that didn’t happen during Fakhruddin-Moinuddin government. Hannan Shah was given hard time because of his BNP affiliation and Altaf Chowduhry landed in the jail on corruption charges. There are many retired army officers as well as some in service are known to heavily corrupt and just a few among them lost their job only as that was “punitive measures” taken against them. But they never went under Dudok investigation and served any kind of jail terms. In general military corrupt personnel are exempt in general no matter what harsh measures have been taken against others. BDR lower ranking who are leading this mutiny mostly belong to deprived part of the society i.e. they are commoners.

BDR’s such deadly outrage reminds establishing social equity and taking military non-military everybody to task who are in fault.

Again think deeply as isn’t it something lack of social justice and equity in general? The mutiny throws copious thoughts to all of us on our levels and stand on justice as a whole.

3. ibne siraj - February 26, 2009

In a society where justice is not prevailed,the course of events may sometimes be unnatural and unexplainable.

4. S. Ahmed - February 26, 2009

Whenever the armed forces are replaced for civilian administration there is pervasive corruption among the higher ranks of the Army/Navy/Air-force. Ershad is a prime example of this. What we need to learn is that time and again we can not replace the legitimately elected civilian govt. with the army.

How come in all these years we haven’t developed a BDR Academy (similar to military academy, Sarda Police Academy), etc.? Can the BDR not “select” its officers from its own rank & file? Many questions remain unanswered. It is extremel unfortunate that the Maj Gen. Shakil chose not to heed to the rank-file BDR jawans.

This outburst vis-a-vis “mutiny” could have been nipped in the bud. Alas, once again we’re experiencing “system failures!”

5. Rahat Zaman - February 28, 2009

what has happened in one word unacceptable, perpetrators must be brought into justice ….but to avoid such outburst as a nation as a society, philosophically we need to reduce social injustice and establish social equity……..

6. Lt. Col (Retired)..... - February 28, 2009

I am not finding my words to frame the sentences and really don’t know how to start. But you must know the truth. Just now I am back after listening from the eye witness. Yes, our beloved Enshad Bhai (Lt Col Enshad, Arty 1st BMA Long Course, ex FCC student) was possibly the second to be shot down. It would take long time to tell how it has started. You will come to know from electronic and print media. They shot DG BDR Maj Gen Shakil first (Innalillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajeun). Enshad bhai due to his appointment was close to DG. During that time there was an incoming call to his mobil phone set and hearing that sound of incoming call they shouted and fired him next (Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajeun). He was second person to be killed. As other officers were alive that time so they could understand the received 7 bullets and died instantly. If we want to know the exact time of his death then we may collect the print copy of his mobile number and count 2 seconds from that relating from the starting time of BDR DG’s Darbar, however, the life won’t come back. There are many other stories also known to me as I personally heard from the eyewitness. Your relatives may know many more information from Lt Col Qamruzzaman who is survived luckly despite that there were four attempts to kill him.

Please know that there were 168 officers present in the darbar where 30 officers were BDR officers (DAD or promotee officers). Rest all were army officers including who came from other 45 Battalions too for participating in Darbar and BDR week celebration. This strength (138 army officers) is confirmed.Now you already know how many dead bodies are recovered and how many officers are released alive. Initially they threw the dead bodies in the drain but once came to know from news that dead bodies are visible at certain points, then they possibly cut into pieces and then threw as small pieces while burned and buried rest of the bodies. They burned all officer’s cars (may be more than 30) and robbed 100% officers houses and taken away all valuable just as “Shontrashi”. DG Madam was brutally butchered and killed (they even told to other family members how she was killed just to make fun). I should not write details about those stories hear.

If any one really hope to listen the actual stories, please go to those who returned from Pilkhana or at least request your other known journalists or human rights workers so that country and the world knows these stories for any future justice.

I started typing this email 0105 hrs 27 Feb but writing now at 0945 hrs in the morning as I went to sleep in front of the Laptop as I was sleepless during all these crisis period. I was CO of two BDR battalions just before my retirement. If I didn’t retire after 25 years then by now I would also be at Pilkhana by now and face the same. So, many officers were personally known to me. I had the telephone numbers of almost all BDR officers and CO/ 2ic. So, once the Pilkhana and other Sector HQ command were gone, I tried to contact to many over phone (I now know that many other officers also tried to keep contact with their friends who were with 45 Battalions at different parts of the country border). We sympathetic officers tried to keep contact and advice them but surprisingly and most possibly, army from authority side, possibly didn’t gave them any directives regarding what to do (whether to still stay with the battalions or to leave the places to safer locations). I could understand the sentiment of around 100 officers who were present at Mirpur Cantonment after people from were brought there. Army Senior officers were in the inactive role during this crisis period. I saw our great FCC Maj Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiya and the second senior most Lt Gen Jahangir too standing there silently as if they were also sympathetic visitors like we retired officers. As if they didn’t have any other role to play. I hard mid level officers talking that during this crisis period army higher ranking officers were busy with normal day to day office activities during this crisis period. Officers were desperate to express is if they were busy only to safe guard their own present rank, status and appointment. I leave behind only few questions to my reader:

1. Should we not find the stories how the rest dead bodies were hidden/ destroyed? The answer of these stories may only be known to those rebel BDR soldiers only.

2. How and who will identify the killers where all eye witnesses are killed? Who will cross examine? Will BDR DADs and soldiers give correct statements against their own defaulters? How neutral will be the investigation? What will be the status of General Amnesty where as such grave nature killing, and destruction have taken place??? How so many rebels could flee away where as govt’s so many agencies were deployed? How helped them in extrication?

3. Is the problem solved as told by the govt or just the starting of long going problems?

4. What are the loses to the nation of loosing so many high and mid level lives/ military professionals? Economic, political, security, diplomatic, etc losses including the reputation of the nation? The loss to their individual families and friends are of course well understood by all which can never be returned.

5. How to recover …… all?

My comments:

1. It is now known that most of the killings took place after the General Amnesty as rebel BDR soldiers thought killings every one will keep no eye witness. But now, could political solving save the life of many?Because many officers were alive until afternoon, so any strong and prompt deterrent military action would make rebels afraid and surrender/flee away (the way they have left the place now). In this way many other officer’s life could have been saved possibly. Because during that time those inside officers would also remain operationally cooperative. It is known that DG BDR had the reaction time to make telephone calls to PM, Home Minister, Army Chief and IGP requesting for prompt help (SOS message) before she was shot. And now the world has witness the nature of help that was extended to allow time to rebels even to kill the rest, destroy the dead bodies and leave the place peacefully. More or less 10 thousands were inside the Pilkhana for the BDR week (exact strength may be known from the previous day’s daily parade and ration strength). So many rebels were allowed to leave the place without arms where the nation news that RAB and army were cording the area.

2. Why people from 3 KM around were asked to leave the area at the last moment when it is already declared that rebels have surrendered their arms? Is it just for facilitating rebels to leave the place along with the general people when there is already rush of general people out side. Why only few are identified and captured enroute where as the whole nation knew that Pilkhana was surrounded by police, RAB and Army from the beginning?

3. As an ex military and BDR officer I would strongly comment that prompt military action was possibly the best option for keeping minimum loss in compare to what we have suffered now. In that case the BDR command could be restored by sorting out the rebels.

4. BDR can not be commanded with present DAD (promotee BDR officers) as it have to protect the International Border? I doubt whether or not other army General or officers would like to be re posted as BDR DG or CO/2ic/MO/OPS Officer/other appointments. If that will so, who will command 45 Battalions, 12 Sectors and HQ BDR??? Police/Anser/BCS/ Political leaders/ Other Officers????? Army officers had been commanding for so long operationally being successful according to BDR standard. But now, will the new/ adhoc command be successful while commanding this rebel BDR troops? Will the border remain secure at least like the past standard? Will the smuggling level remain under same level? My comment is “NO”.. the country and this BDR will have to pay a lot.

5. This incident/mutiny, the way it has unfolded until now, is of course was a master minded action by out side player.

6. PM, Home Minister, Army Chief and IGP didn’t do much to extend the help which DG BDR asked for before he was shot.

7. Please ignore any mistake from above writings which I typed being tired. However, please try to get the main points which I tried to high light. I will never argue with any one even if some one disagree my opinion. Hope readers would only consider these as my personal opinion. You may also ignore any other sensitive comments, according to your understanding, which I wrote with the mentality of loosing my 6 batch mates and other known brother officers. However, even if you write any thing in reply then we may understand each other’s view and learn more which is of course part of democratic process. I would always be sorry for any mistake/ wrong of my writing, if any.

a. My professional comments are backed by my four times experience of commanding two Army Infantry and Two BDR battalions as CO, Handling rebels at Mozambique(1994) and Liberia (2005-6) as UN Military observers for two years, 6-7 years of fighting counter insurgency at Chittagong Hill Tracts, two years BMA basic military training and 25 years military education and training while sensitive comments were due to missing of my so many long term good batch mates and other professional friends together as well as due to the “silent observer’s role of many senior officers” who could other wise do/suggest some thing else too. The information which are written were known by me personally while talking to other BDR officers and their families who could survive, army officers whom I talked physically.

b. Please, as a responsible citizen of the country, try to help govt agencies and the nation in providing the information/ knowledge/ experience/ suggestion/ idea/ opinion for quick recovery of missing persons/ dead bodies and lost weapons including the proper investigation with a view to take appropriate actions by the appropriate authorities and solve such problem permanently.

c. It is friday and so I have to go for prayer. ay the Almighty Allah bless us all, bless the departed souls, bless the families of departed souls, bless all the security forces, bless the nation Bangladesh.

Lt Col (Retd) ………(Author prefers to be anonymous)

7. Rahat Zaman - February 28, 2009


Why don’t any Bangladeshi newspaper post such a picture to identify the red bandana guy?

8. Rahat Zaman - March 1, 2009

It was full of bizarre and ample confusion from the very first troubled moment. It took me some time to grasp the whole reality that in the heart of Dhaka city on broad day light the BDR top brass was mercilessly butchered by their own soldiers. More I see the mutilated dead bodies coming out from mass graves one after another some with instant identifications but many not -the question striking my mind was: is this at all necessary to achieve any objective? Besides the Bangladesh satellite channels that are accessible at my North American location, I was wondering and keep failing to justify the masked and red-bandana clad BDR soldiers justifications of doing all these mess on their commanders, who were serving BDR from army on deputation , corruption, misbehave and living luxurious life! Does anybody deserve such deadly atrocities on corruption charges like our BDR officers were dying in the hands of some so called “mutineers”? What some of the BDR troopers did like killing 150 people or more just being mad dogs can be considered a mutiny in any classical sense? Come on, this is not mutiny in any sense but a heinous criminal act rather a bunch of murderers became trigger happy and killed unarmed officers in festive mood.

But wait, I heard the ill-fate deceased DG Maj Gen Shakil managed to talk to prime minister, and army chief in the wee hours of the mess; may we know what exactly Maj Gen Shakil told them and what were immediate steps taken by these two top executives to save officers lives?

An attempt to deescalate the tension, as claimed by appropriate measures necessary for that very moment the head of the government offered general amnesty, fine but why don’t we demand to learn that at the time when one DAD Touheed and his fellow “mutineers” had the privilege to meet prime minister and demanding for amnesty why didn’t prime minister demand in return to directly talk to Maj Gen Shakil and his top men who were claimed to be kept “hostage” by Touheed and his fellow men? Why didn’t a general amnesty offer was made in return of Maj Gen Shakil and all other captives safe arrival at BDR’s Main Gate besides Touheed and all his men’s arms lay down and surrender to law enforcement peacefully? Instead the nation with prime minister’s trust on bunch of criminals, allowed phase 2 and 3 killings and lootings, I would say. As if it was a picnic and some opportunity for a target practice fun, more of how to kill unarmed population was simply carried out.

And how can a few thousand people simply flee from a secured and walled fort like compound just like magic? Was there anybody responsible for preventing bunch of criminals escaping no matter what we came to know about their atrocities at that moment?

Wait, where was Sohel Taj, who was visible frequently at all time but not with a white flag entering BDR compound instead Nanak and Azam with questionable integrity did the job?

Do we feel that DAD Touheed and his men fooled, bluffed and cheated the nation by lying that Maj Gen Shakil and BDR top brass were alive but reality was by then they were all brutally killed?

9. saiful islam - March 17, 2009

The BDR carnage was a systematic preplanned killing of the best collection of army officers who were national assets. Nothing can replace this damage. This has severely affected the morale of all members of the armed forces. The junior officers believed military action could have been the best option to take control of the situation given the fact the rebels were too afraid to run away if army moved in. However, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh wisely opted for a peaceful solution rather than purely military action, fearing it could mess up the conflict into a full-blown bloodbath within the BDR compound. The decision was very critical, which is now proved to have been handled with remarkable political wisdom and foresight, resolve and equanimity. The army has also shown remarkable good sense, they remained absolutely steadfast to the unified command though there were many agitation and anger under the uncertainly of the situation and external provocation. While the officers were
struggling to comfort each other from the grief, I find some strong media sympathetically glorifying the demands of the mutineers. I have only two questions to ask them, 1. Why they had to kill them all and conduct such carnage before communicating their demands? 2. When the PM promised to consider all their demands, why they all chose to abscond? This kind of journalism adds more scars to our wounds and creates unrest in the society. Let us all pray so that we all remain united and draw strength from the loss to serve the nation better.

10. fatema rashid hasan - March 18, 2009

good comments.

11. truttyAnits - May 20, 2009

Great post, but its a bit long and most people like short and sweet posts!

12. IAN - September 4, 2009

I think a section of the army officers served/were serving have pissed the BDR so much that, these guys had no choice but voice their utter disgust.

In that, some vested quarter instigated them to go for an armed action.

Killing and brutality of that magnitude needs real looking into the psychological profiling.

The army officers of bangladesh needs to change as to how they look at other people of bangladesh, their attitude and thinking all mighty wholesale agent of leadership needs addressing

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