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Justice for our fallen heroes and heroines

Barrister M. A. Muid Khan

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“…Nirmomota koto dur hola Jati Hoba Nirlojjo? Ame chitkar kora kadita chahiya, korita parinee chitkar. Buker betha buka chapaiya, nija ka diyache dhikkar (English translation: How long the cruelity is required to be continue to make the Nation ashamed off? Despite trying to cry out loudly, I could not cry. Suppressing the chest pain within the chest, gave shame to myself.)”
(Haider Hussain’s masterpiece on BDR)

Last week, when I listened to the above song and watched the video footages of the decomposed dead bodies of our brave fallen soldiers being carried by the fellow officers, while tears rolled down from their eyes, I lost words to express my outrage, anger and disgust. Unknown to me, tears started rolling down from my eyes asking for, “Where is justice? Why are we still not able to give exemplary punishment to the mutineers and their associates?” “Why are we not able to bring the real culprits before justice by giving Death Penalty as their punishment? Was it the dream for which our brave martyrs had sacrificed their lives in the National liberation war-1971? By failing to punish the offenders and their associates with exemplary punishment, haven’t we betrayed with our brave freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives with a pledge to create a democratic society, “… free from exploitation- a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens… (Preamble: The Constitution of Bangladesh)”? Haven’t we failed to provide justice to the fallen commanders and their family members by failing to punish the mutineers with exemplary punishment i.e. death penalty.

How could the whole nation forget the contributions made by these brave fallen commanders of the country who maintained the law and order of the country together with the sovereignty of the country from the greedy and dirty hands of a group of our politicians who put the whole nation’s life at risk after 1/11?
On the eve of second anniversary of the brutal killings committed by the mutineers at Pilkhana, I express my deepest shock and heartfelt condolences for the brave fallen heroes and heroines, their families, relatives and friends. I also join the nation in mourning for our brave fallen heroes and heroines and praying for the salvation of their souls and hoping that Almighty God will grant them eternal peace.

I also express my solidarity with the families of the bereaved and promise to stand by them as their children and families struggle to move forward in life.
As my heart is still bleeding looking at the video frottage, I decided to write this article to create a massive wave in the heart and minds of the whole nation to stand together again irrespective of their political believe and religious faith in the spirit of independence war with a view to bring the mutineers/murderers and their associates before justice.

I can still remember the black afternoon of 27th February 2009, when from my North London Office (Carr-Gomm) during the lunch break, I watched in the BBC News, the horrific and shocking pictures and video footages of the mutilated army officers dead bodies being pulled out one by one from mass graves excavated within the BDR headquarters. Between 25th and 26th February 2009, the mutineers killed 70 officers. BBC (London) reported that the killers dug several mass graves and dumped several officers’ dead bodies.

From one mass grave, 38 bodies were recovered who was buried during the 33-hour mutiny at the BDR headquarter. The hole, which is around 12 feet in length, 10 feet wide and 15 feet deep, is located on the eastern side of the BDR hospital. The rescuers found the bodies dumped haphazardly in the hole. The mutineers buried the army officers deputed to BDR, including BDR Director General Major General Shakil Ahmed, in the mass grave after the gruesome killing, apparently to hide their brutality. Among the deceased officials, BDR DG Maj Gen Shakil received seven bullets in different parts of his body, including his arms, chest and head.

One of his eyes was also gouged out. Could we even imagine the brutality they killers had shown to the BDR Director General before, during and after his death? The media also reported that it was hard to identify many of the bodies as mutinous fired innumerable shots on the bodies and also charged bayonets upon the dead bodies.

Medias further reported that undressed bodies were dumped first inside the hole as these bodies were found at bottom of the hole while the uniformed bodies were found above. Many officers took shelter inside manholes and drains but they could not save themselves.
Some rescuers suspected that the killers undressed many of the officials during dumping. At one stage, they dumped the bodies in uniform as they buried the bodies in a hurry.

When I compared this cold blooded murders committed by these mutineers with the night of March 25, 1971, when the BDR (then EPR) became the first martyrs of Bangladesh’s Liberation War by in fighting against the Pakistani soldiers at Pilkhana, I became speechless. These cold blooded murderers have defaced the contribution of BDR in the great Liberation War, who (then EPR).

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Among the deceased officials, BDR DG Maj Gen Shakil received seven bullets in different parts of his body, including his arms, chest and head. One of his eyes was also gouged out.

I can still hear the heart-crying stories of Soniya, Noorjahan, Pritam and other family members who lost their beloved one in those brutal killings, whilst watched them on the news media. At the time of those brutal killings, Ms Soniya’s Husband was expecting a baby by mid-March after waiting for a child for seven years. Her husband, Major Mominul Islam was brutally killed by the mutineers on 25th February 2009. She never knew, even in her wildest guess, that the baby would be born an orphan, growing up only with the pictures and stories of his/her father. We don’t know what has happened to her? We also don’t know what has happened to her new born baby? I am expressing my condolence to her. I am also expressing my anger for the injustice shown to her by the nation for not punishing the mutineers with exemplary punishment.

The Nation has forgotten to Noorjahan, who was seen on the TV waiting at the BDR Gate-4 hoping for any information of her brother Mominul, killed inside by the mutineers. We don’t know whether she was able to find out her brother’s dead body.

We have also forgotten to Pritam, the elder son of Major Abdul Salam Khan, who with his mother and brother was held hostages in a guard quarters since the mutiny broke and were released on Thursday around 3:30pm. We also don’t know about the other members of the family of fallen hero Major Abdul Salam Khan.

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Major Mominul Islam was expecting a baby by mid-March after waiting for a child for seven years but he was brutally killed by the mutineers on 25th February 2009.

We do not know about the present condition of the family members of the BDR Director General (DG) Shakil Ahmed, who was also found in front of the BDR Gate-4 with the deceased DG’s mother and three sisters.

We also don’t know what has happened to the other family members of the fallen brave soldiers who lost their beloved one in that brutal killing.

We also dont know what has happened to the newly born baby Major Mominul Islam brutally killed by the mutineers? Surprisingly, no TV talk show speaker is speaking anything in support of the victims’ families. None of the family members of the brave fallen commanders are invited to any of the talk shows. The cry for justice requires taking the views of the victims, and, in this case, their family members.

Regarding the punishment for these mutineers, I always suggested that they should be penalised with Capital Punishment i.e. Death penalty. Being a defender of human rights and fundamental, I never supported Capital punishment and stood against it. I never supported the view, “An eye for an eye!” But, after listening to the incidents of brutal killing of innocent unarmed army officers, and looking at their mutilated body pulled out from the mass graves, I revised my opinion and now consider that, society should not have to pay for someone so dangerous that they can never return to live around normal people. I strongly support that these mutineers should be punished with death penalty. Although the executing the killer does nothing to bring the person back, however, the threat of execution is enough to make criminals think twice about committing a capital crime. I also suggested that these killers and their associates could be easily tried with the Death Penalty in accordance with existing Army Act.

I found it extremely surprising when a section of the top lawyers of the country cried loudly for the human rights of the mutineers when they were called by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to give their opinion on whether BDR mutineers should be tried under civil or military law after the President sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter.

Punishing the mutineers with death penalty is more than enough to make the would be mutineers think twice about committing the similar offence in future. The only ones to object seem to be politicians on party lines, politically correct idiots, and the noisy minority of bleeding hearts, so-called civil libertarians, BDR mutineers and their friends and family members!

In my previous articles published in various national and international newspapers, I expressed my opinion for the speedy but fair trial of the mutineers under the existing Army Act. I have explained the limitations of the Bangladesh Rifles Order, 1972, which only provided only seven years of imprisonment as punishment for the mutineers.

I also suggested that the trial should start immediately under the provisions of the Army Act without any waste of time, to ensure justice to the family members of the fallen commanders.

(To be continued)

http://thenewnationbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9938%3Ajustice-for-our-fallen-heroes-and-heroines-&catid=94%3Alaw-a-justice&Itemid=264

Revolt By Bangladesh Rifles, It’s Security And Strategic Implications For Bangladesh

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Bangladesh Rifles, the first line of defense

The relationship between Awami League and the Bangladesh army has never been cordial
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The BDR mutiny may be the case of a teamwork between a foreign external intelligence agency (RAW ) and some political elements (the ruling party 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.

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The then government's suppressive and discriminatory policies to neglect, humiliate and alienate the armed forces, ultimately led to the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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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.

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.

http://newsbd71.blogspot.com/2011/03/revolt-by-bangladesh-rifles-its.html

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