Border guard official admits to leading Dhaka mutiny

June 7th, 2009 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, June 7 (IANS) A middle-ranking Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) official has admitted to leading the mutiny by the border guard troopers in February this year that left 81 people including 55 Bangladesh Army officers dead, a media report said Sunday.
Deputy Assistant Director Touhidul Alam Saturday confessed before a Dhaka magistrate to have planned and led the mutiny, and all the operations during the carnage, The Daily Star said.

The guards staged a revolt against their commanding officers at the force headquarters Feb 25 in the heart of the capital over poor salaries and working conditions. The mutiny ended the next day and nearly 1,000 BDR personnel were arrested.

The 67,000-strong BDR is a paramilitary force that guards the country’s 4,427-km-long border with India and Myanmar.

Alam had also led a team of mutineers that met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Feb 25 evening. Alam confessed before the court that he had not told the prime minister that the troopers had killed many senior ranking army officers.

Hasina, in her anxiety to end the carnage, had declared an amnesty to those who surrender.

The sources in the criminal investigation department have termed the confession as a “big step forward”, the report said.

Arrested Sepoy Habib also made a statement Saturday admitting that he and Sepoy Muhit shot and killed Maj. Gen. Shakil Ahmed and other senior officers at Darbar Hall in the headquarters at Pilkhana soon after the revolt sparked.

Ahmed and other senior Bangladesh Army officers, all on deputation to BDR, were in a meeting when the mutiny broke out. Later investigations revealed that the officers were killed in the first couple of hours of the revolt.

Meanwhile, Hasina is facing heat from the ruling Awami League’s top party leadership, who have criticized ministers in the government for “talking too much” about the mutiny and its aftermath.

Party seniors left out of the government that has a majority of debutants, in a meeting, took to task Home Minister Sahera Khatun, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan and others, New Age newspaper said quoting sources who attended the meeting.

They lambasted the ministers for “speaking out of turn” and alleging “outside conspiracy” and “political hand” behind the mutiny.

In the first closed-door criticism of the government, the party men noted that these allegations were found to be without basis and two probes that have been conducted into the causes of the mutiny have not substantiated them.

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