Probe hints at ‘political’ angle in border guards’ mutiny

May 28th, 2009 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, May 28 (IANS) The Bangladesh government’s probe into the mutiny by its border guards in February hints at a `political’ angle, but makes no mention of foreign involvement or militant links in the rebellion that left 81 people dead.
A few Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel established political contacts during the run-up to the ninth general election last year to air their grievances. They planned an agitation after failing to gain any support, says a report by retired official Anisuzzaman Khan.

“The grievances were not that serious and some forces might have capitalised on the situation and instigated the gory killings to break the chain of command and make the border force inoperative,” according to the report

The government made public Thursday a seven-page summary of the 309-page report.

The hint at ‘political’ links drew the ire of opposition leader Khaleda Zia who accused the government of making the contents public in a selective manner.

Eighty one people, including 55 Bangladesh Army officers were killed in the mutiny that took place Feb 25-26 at Pilkhana, the BDR headquarter in the national capital.

The government has since decided to disband the force and raise it afresh.

The committee has recommended striking a balance in the facilities for the military, paramilitary and law enforcement agencies. It also suggested revision of the service tenure of the members of the BDR in line with that of the army.

Scores of BDR personnel have been detained for questioning over the mutiny that took place over low wages and poor working conditions. Some have died in custody. The probe body has recommended quick trial for those identified as having led the mutiny.

The home ministry’s probe committee “could not ascertain the real cause and motive for the carnage and suggested further investigations to identify the plotters”, New Age newspaper said Thursday.

The grievances harboured by the BDR troopers against their commanding officers from the army were the immediate reason for the rebellion and hinted that the players behind the scenes might have pulled strings capitalising on the discontent to destabilise the country in a planned way, the summary said.

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