20-25 soldiers spearheaded the carnage during BDR mutiny, claim survivors

February 28th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Dhaka, Feb.28 (ANI): While an official version about the mayhem perpetrated during the mutiny of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) is still awaited, some survivors and BDR troops have claimed that the whole incident of killings was spearheaded by a group of 20-25 non-commissioned soldiers.
These non-commissioned soldiers forced others to take up guns and participate in the savagery that followed, stated some of the surviving officers and fleeing mutineers in The Daily Star .
The small group of leaders, all of whom were based in Pilkhana BDR Headquarters, carried out all the mindless killings, most of which took place between 9:00am and 11:00am on Wednesday, the survivors told to the Daily Star.
As soon as the first shot was fired, some of the rebel leaders armed themselves and locked the officers inside Darbar Hall at gunpoint, while some others rushed to the residence of the BDR Director General and other officers.
Some went to the arms depot and broke open its doors. Then they forced other soldiers present in Pilkhana to take up arms as well, many of whom were there that day from battalions outside Dhaka, on the occasion of the BDR Week.
“If you don”t take up arms and join us, you will be shot,” a leader of the mutiny was quoted by a soldier, who like many others fled the headquarters on Thursday.
He, however, said that the majority of the soldiers were against the killing of so many officers.
“There were arguments between the mutiny leaders and other soldiers about the killings. Many tried to convince the leaders that all officers are not bad. But the leaders were furious,” he said.
Another soldier said many of the soldiers felt deprived and were angry about the role of some top officers, whom they branded as corrupt. “There was no argument about the fate of the corrupt persons,” he said adding some soldiers were also killed as they tried to stop the killings.
Soldiers said most of them broke down in tears seeing so many dead bodies of officers, scattered at different places in the compound. Initially many bodies were dumped in sewers.
The wholesale killing prompted them to flee the headquarters, the soldiers added.
They also said there was no specific leader of the mutiny. All soldiers of the small leading group seemed to be the leaders in the brutality.
They said a few officers were able to come out alive from Pilkhana, because many of the soldiers protested when the mutiny leaders wanted to kill them.
While narrating the horrible deeds that went on inside Darbar Hall, Lt Col Syed Kamruzzaman, who survived the killing spree, said he was saved by ”a few good soldiers”.
“They took me to another place and kept me hidden from the others,” he said at a media briefing in the army staff college officers” mess in Mirpur Cantonment.
As the mutineers heard a rumour that the army could storm Pilkhana, the small group of leaders ordered the soldiers to bring out four armoured personnel carriers (APC).
“They pointed their guns at us and ordered us to operate the APCs,” said a soldier, who was present in Pilkhana during the mutinee. The unwilling mutineers also had to take positions at different points to face any retaliation.
Some of the soldiers also said the mutiny bosses forced them to dig a mass grave behind the BDR mortuary Wednesday evening and dumped the bodies of dead officers in it.
“I saw three trucks with bodies parked there and some jawans were digging a ditch,” said a soldier, who had hidden an officer inside a bathroom to save him. “There were many soldiers who tried to save the officers and their families in many ways,” he added.
Major Firoz, who survived the mutiny, told The Daily Star that some soldiers helped his pregnant wife to leave Pilkhana on Thursday morning. “She became ill and they were kind enough to let her go outside.” (ANI)

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