This image has been doing the rounds. It’s an unlikely rumor because if things got to that stage, Gen Bhuiyan (IKB) would have mounted a coup. It is perfectly legitimate for the government (whose legitimacy no one disputes) to deploy the army “in aid to civil power”, and refusal to obey that order would be gross insubordination of duty. From a confrontation as volatile as described here, there could be no turning back. Neither the PM could allow IKB to continue, nor IKB could go home thinking everything is alright. Further, the army was deployed in Bogra. So the rumour is to be discounted.
But the fact that this is circulating is significant.
Who benefits from a military coup right now? Obviously Jamaat-e-Islami does.
However, this image might not be Jamaat-authored – notice how Delwar Hossain Sayedee does not have any honorific appended?
More importantly, I have seen it in many jatiyatabadi sites (and yes, there are still BNPwallahs who are not Jamaatis).
So a sizeable number of BNP supporters / online activists are open to the idea of a military intervention.
Given how the last few military interventions played out for BNP, or how the army top brass treated the residence of the party founder and his family, these BNPwallahs’ continued affinity towards the army is quite touching.
What does the army think about intervening?
As mentioned to PhantomBD, my assessment is that the senior officers are not interested in a coup: Generals believe that this government’s days are numbered. There will be the usual political tamasha leading to the election, which will be won by BNP. As long as BNP restores the way things were until the 2000s, there won’t be any military coup.
That was based on information upto last fall. I do not have any more recent information, but I don’t see anything that would increase the general’s appetite for power. The last intervention has left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.
More importantly, military coups are difficult things to pull off. Even with the hapless Iajuddin in charge, 1/11 was a close-run thing. Abdur Rahman Biswas was more than enough to take care of Nasim. The great HM Ershad needed almost a day to take care of a career bureaucrat like Justice Sattar. Sheikh Hasina, with an iron grip over the party, buoyed by the urban youth of Shahbag, is in a far stronger position than Iajuddin-Biswas-Sattar. And this is not 1975. There will be no successful military coup as long as Sheikh Hasina sits in that office in PMO. As ADB5 put it: She is twice the man than all of our generals put together, and more importantly, EVERYONE knows that.
There currently exists no general who will enter Ganabhaban and tell the PM that the jig is up. And yet, these rumours persist. Why?
Because, there also exists no major colonel who will order his captains to use heavy weapons against unarmed civilians. If such a situation were to develop, the generals will have to gather around and make a collective decision about which of them will be man enough to send the PM packing.
How is this for a scenario?
Narayanganj Jame Masjid is blown up (or some crazy Sayedee-sighting like stunt is put in play). There are 100,000 Muslim men-women-children marching on the street. Civil administration is over powered. Order comes to open fire. The local major and colonel say no. There are copycat demonstrations in 20 other towns.
What will the army do?
Source: Alal O Dulal