Probe finds no political, foreign link to Dhaka mutiny

May 22nd, 2009 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, May 22 (IANS) The Bangladesh Rifles’ (BDR) mutiny probe committee has not found any involvement of political leaders or foreign forces into the rebellion that left 81 people, including 55 army officers, dead.
The committee, headed by a senior retired official, said it had relied on “facts and realities” and had eschewed “speculation”.

It recommended a separate probe on the political and foreign links that have been alleged by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and many of her ministers.

The rebellion by border guard troopers was for better wages and working conditions, said the national probe committee on BDR mutiny, The Daily Star newspaper reported.

“BDR jawans committed the murders on their own. Our investigation did not find any involvement of outsiders-political leaders, militants or foreign forces,” a member of the government probe body told the newspaper Thursday evening.

“We are committed to making the findings public,” said Home Minister Sahara Khatun, who received the report from the committee.

According to the inquiry report, the BDR troopers had pent up grievances for years.

BDR is a paramilitary force under the home ministry, to which Bangladesh army officers go on deputation. They get 30 percent deputation allowance and better perks under the army and defence ministry rules, which is a cause of resentment among the BDR troopers.

Those killed included 55 army officers, including then BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed.

The national probe report comes after the army’s own report that did not touch upon the allegations pertaining to political and foreign links of the rebels.

Some sources close to the committee said several troopers claimed the mutiny was part of their movement against “discriminations by the army officers deputed to BDR”. They called it “a mission to oust the foreign birds from BDR”.

The killings were not part of their original plans. Still, it took place as some of the mutineers went beyond the control of the leaders, the sources stated.

In its report, the committee recommended that those responsible be tried under the military act.

The probe recorded the BDR personnel’s resentment at being involved in civilian tasks.

Their resentment over ‘Operation Dal-Bhat’ made matters even worse, and it all boiled over into a carnage Feb 25-26.

“Dal Bhat”, meaning rice and lentil soup, is a Bangladeshi expression for livelihood. The BDR was engaged in nabbing hoarders of foodgrains and other essential commodities during times of shortages.

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