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8 years on, gruesome BDR mutiny still in memory

  • Published at 01:06 am February 25th, 2017
  • Last updated at 07:16 pm February 25th, 2017
8 years on, gruesome BDR mutiny still in memory
Bangladesh is remembering the victims of a bloody mutiny by paramilitary troopers of then BDR at the now Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters on this day in 2009. Altogether 74 people were killed in the 33-hour coup that ended with the rebels' surrender. The cold-blooded execution of 57 army officers, including the then border guard chief, is the biggest massacre of defence commanders in the country's history. Officers drawn from regular army units traditionally command the border guards, then known as the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). The mutiny took place at a time when the officers were taking part in a meeting at Pilkhana. At 9:27am on February 25, Moin, one of mutineers, entered the Darbar Hall and pointed a gun at the then border guard chief Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed. What followed was mass killing in broad daylight. The mutilation of many of the dead officers and the way their bodies were dumped shocked the nation. Mutineers fanned out across the Pilkhana, ransacking the army officers' houses and torturing their families. Investigators failed to find out the real reason behind the mutiny.

Also Read- Real cause of BDR mutiny still a mystery

The trials

Police had filed two cases, one for carnage and another under the Explosives Act, with Lalbagh police station. Charges in both cases were pressed in July, 2010. On November 5, 2013, a Dhaka court handed the death penalty to 150 soldiers and two civilians; and sentenced 161 others to life imprisonment in the carnage case. A total of 278 people were acquitted while the rest received rigorous imprisonment, ranging from three to 10 years. Death references and appeals, mostly by the convicts, were filed with the High Court. A special High Court bench started hearing the appeals on January 18, 2015, which is in the final stage now. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that the legal procedures relating to the verdict would be finished in the High Court by this year, paving the way to execute the verdict. The High Court on Thursday deferred the hearing of appeals and death references of the 152 convicts until April 2 following a time prayer filed by the State. Meanwhile, trial of 834 people, including a civilian, in the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act is pending with a lower court in Dhaka. A total of 38 out of 12,000 prosecution witnesses have so far testified in this case.

Programmes for today

BGB Public Relations Officer Muhammad Mohsin Reza said they would organise programmes to remember the victims. A special prayer will be held at Pilkhana at 5pm. Representatives of the president and the prime minister will place floral wreaths at the Banani graveyard. The home minister, chiefs of the three services, and the BGB director general will pay their respects to the victims.
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