Third anniversary of BDR mutiny: Horrors still haunt nation, lenghthy trial process questioned

By Nazmus Saquib

Today is the third anniversary of the infamous BDR mutiny. On this very day in 2009, some disgruntled BDR Jawans brutally killed their senior bosses to protest what they called ‘unfair treatment.’ February 25-26 is one of the cruelest times in Bangladesh as it saddens right-minded people greatly. One of the most bizarre tragedies in the country’s history, on the two days three years back, stunned all.

The 2009 carnage in the then BDR headquarters left 75 people dead, 57 of them army officers, in command of the border force. The other crimes committed in the hell that was let loose beggars description. The name of the mutiny-ridden border force was changed—its gear, too—and the trial of a staggeringly big number of suspects is going on.But, three years after the traumatic nightmare, the horrors of Pilkhana still haunt people’s mind.

A total of 57 top and mid-ranking meritorious army officials, including one Major-General, a Brigadier-General, a Lieutenant Colonel and some majors, were killed during the mayhem. It was like killing two birds with one stone, as two main forces–Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Rifles—were left bereft of their leaders.

Bangladesh Border Guard, the changed name of BDR has chalked out many programmes to commemorate the tragedy. On the day in 2009, BDR Week-2009 and Annual Durbar functions were underway, as usual. But, suddenly, the mutiny erupted at 10:00 am on the 25th of February and at 12:00 noon Prime Minister Hasina sent Home Minister Sahara Khatun and LGRD state minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak to the BDR Headquarters at Pilkhana as her emissaries. However the soldiers paid little heed as they continued the killing spree. Some private tv channels aired live news updates to portray the ‘just demands’ of the disgruntled soldiers. But little did the know about the brutally that was going on inside the Pilkhana.

The government representatives met a delegation of the mutineers led by MD Tawheed for a negotiated settlement of the crisis. At the time, the armed forces were not given orders to move against the BDR rebels. The mutineers’ delegation arrived at PM`s residence and handed over their hand-scribbled demands to PM Hasina and returned with a general amnesty from her.

Throughout the time of mutiny, both minister Sahara Khatun and state minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak negotiated with the mutineers, but all in vain. On the second day of the mutiny, Sahara Khatun convinced the jawans to lay down arms by assuring them that the Army would not go into the BDR headquarters. To everyone’s shock, all the weird things had been done.

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