Since the independence, Bangladesh Rifles, the first line of defense, have been combating smuggling, human trafficking, drug trafficking and other illegal activities along the border and have made supreme sacrifices to protect the lives and properties of the people from enemy invasion with great courage and valor. Bangladesh Rifles have earned worldwide recognition for its determination, patriotism, and professionalism when they successfully repelled a large invasion by Indian border security force at Roumari point in 2001. Despite its performance and patriotism, the members of Bangladesh Rifles got little attention from the successive governments to alleviate the problem of poor pay and benefit structures allowed for them. Nevertheless, they continued to discharge their duties with utmost sincerity and took part in all nation building activities maintaining professionalism and discipline. On 25 th Feb, 2009 , the nation was shocked at the news that some BDR members had revolted and killed many officers who were on deputation from Bangladesh army to protest against poor pay and benefit structures and alleged corruption by the late Director General. The mutineers asked the government to implement a set of demands on a priority basis to address the problems of the members of Bangladesh Rifles. Some of these demands are as follows: 1 . withdrawing army officers from all command posts of BDR and recruiting new officers from BCS cadres 2 . allowing full rationing for BDR members 3 . sending BDR personnel to U.N. peacekeeping missions 4 . revamping salary structures and promotion procedures 5 . allowing defense allowances for BDR members 6 . procuring more transportation vehicles to guard the long porous border with India and Myanmar 7 . increasing the quality of food and 8 . improving educational and medical facilities for the family members of soldiers Because of defense strategy and lack of manpower, it will not be possible to withdraw army officers from the command posts of BDR, but the rest of the demands deserve due consideration because these are logical and should have been given to the BDR members a long time ago for they put their lives in danger to safeguard the frontiers of the country. It is, therefore, hoped that the government will take appropriate measures to remove the grievances of BDR members to stop the occurrences of similar incidents in the future. Now, let us examine whether there are any political motivations behind this unfortunate incident that shocked the entire nation. Indo-Awami nexus to weaken BDR and to defame the army The relationship between Awami League and the Bangladesh army has never been cordial because of latter’s security outlook that anticipates no security threat from India and considers defense expenditures as needless. A few clauses of the 25 year friendship treaty that virtually eliminated Bangladesh’s sovereign right to seek assistance from other friendly nations to expand and modernize its armed forces and the subsequent step motherly attitude of the government and the formation of Rakkhi Bahini had cerated widespread resentment among the army officers. Instead of taking appropriate measures to remove the legitimate grievances of the army officers, the then government continued with their suppressive and discriminatory policies to neglect, humiliate and alienate the armed forces, which ultimately led to the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members at the hands of a few young army officers. Awami League has never forgotten the incident nor forgiven the armed forces for the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and left no stone unturned to avenge the incident in 1975 by creating divisions in the armed forces through various political machinations. After the political change in 1 /11 , the military backed government had thrown many Awami League leaders into jail for their alleged involvement in financial scandal and abuse of power, which, many believe, has caused further deterioration in the relationship between the armed forces and Awami League. After the elections, Awami League’s virulent verbal attack on the army for its role in 1 / 11 is a testament to the fact that they wanted to weaken the army so that the latter could never repeat a 1 /11 like situation to bring about political changes in the country. India has its own agenda to diminish our defense capability because it needs a subservient military in Bangladesh to easily establish total domination on 4096 km Indo-Bangla border and use our defense and intelligence resources to its advantage to quell ongoing insurgencies in its North East region. India’s abortive misadventure inside Bangladesh territory in 2001 forced them to reorganize their security policy vis a vis Bangladesh and emphasize the need to search for new avenues to play larger role in the matters related to defense of Bangladesh and neutralize Chinese influence on our defense forces. This could only be accomplished through active cooperation from a friendly government at the helm of power in creating tension within our defense forces to break their morale and making it imperative for Bangladesh to seek Indian help in reorganizing the defense system of the country. So, the BDR mutiny may be the case of a teamwork between a foreign external intelligence agency (read RAW ) and some political elements (read Awami League ) within the country to set the stage for the departure of the army officers from Bangladesh Rifles to weaken it and to tarnish the image of the army before the whole nation to break their morale. The assertion that some local political elements and India are working together to weaken the security systems of Bangladesh may be true because the government’s quick decision to grant general amnesty to all rebellious members of Bangladesh Rifles without assessing the ground reality and to not allow any military action to quell the rebellion, which gave the mutineers enough time to put forth a set of demands and flee in groups from the BDR headquarters seem a preplanned strategy to instigate a rebellion, break the chain of command, kill large number of officers, and ensure safe exit for mutineers. If the local and foreign conspirators who planned, directed, and implemented the rebellion are not identified and the rebellious members of BDR who broke the chain command are not brought to justice such occurrences of rebellion may be repeated in other security forces to destabilize the entire nation and to create a situation for external powers to intervene in the name of peacekeeping.
Filed under: Bangladesh, Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh Defence, Featured, Pilkhana Massacre, Politices | Tagged: Awami League, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Rifles, BDR Mutiny, Border Guards Bangladesh, India, Pilkhana Massacre, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman |