BDR mutiny: One year on | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 27, 2010

BDR mutiny: One year on

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IT is one year of one of the blackest events of our history. Time is really the best healer. But on the other side, many contentious spots remain vivid. Rumors and suspicions continue to dominate public discourse and spreading hatred and pointing finger against each other sees no end. Many blogs, face book groups, and websites have joined to fuel fire to the propaganda war that the killing was politically linked.
I had the chance to look into at least five such interesting observations which were being widely circulated on web, such as:
1. Why did the Government not have any information on the conspiracy of this magnitude?
2. Why did the government send inexperienced ministers to negotiate with the rebels?
3. Why did Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Shahara Khatun go in and out of the BDR compound without security? Why did they feel safe and secure in such a hostile environment?
4. Why were the BDR rebels given general amnesty without confirming the fate of the Army officers and their families?
5. Why did the government move the Army 3km away from the BDR camp and blackout the whole area effectively allowing the criminals to flee from the scene?
These five seemingly serious allegations were put on an article of an Islamist website and subsequently on many blogs and face book groups. I was very curious about these arguments and have given some thought to it.
I don't find any barometer of what 'experienced minister' really means. If having no experience in running a public office is considered as inexperience, this would hardly suit the idea of injecting new and fresh faces into politics. During 2008 US Election, we frequently heard the argument against Barack Obama that he was too inexperienced to run a country like United States. .
As for ministers' security one cannot understand why BDR Jawans would have wanted to harm those ministers who were negotiating and trying to address, among other issues, the soldiers' demands.
The issue of general amnesty has been widely discussed, perhaps the most talked about issue surrounding BDR mutiny. Many argue that the government declared amnesty to the rebels given the fact that they raised some valid demands. It can be assumed that the government wanted to demonstrate that they were not against the genuine demands. If we consider the whole thing as a rebellion, and the possibility of confrontation between the army and BDR camps scattered around the country, the general amnesty seems to be a good decision to quell the situation
The fifth allegation is self-contradictory. At the one hand one is asking for a military solution - attack on the rebellion's base - and on the other hand criticising military preparedness! We know that the surroundings and adjacent areas of Peelkhana are densely populated. We understood from the later clarifications by the concerned high-ups of the government that they initially avoided the idea of an attack and opted for negotiation to seek a peaceful (we discovered that it was not that peaceful as all expected) solution to the issue. The government prepared for both situations - continue the negotiation and if that collapses carry out an attack. For the second option, they reasonably pleaded to the people living adjacent to Peelkhana to move to a safer place. The only allegation one can put here is the failure of the government to cordon off the area.
There are also criticisms on the blackout. Blackout could have easily been effected by the BDR soldiers themselves and it was easy to switch off the power station inside the Peelkhana.
Military operations are the worst solution ever if you look back into history. It only brings misery and sufferings to many. We lost 57 officers and if any kind of military operation was carried out, we might have saved a few of them, but the cost would have been very high given the political consideration.
The common people want objective analysis of the event. Every responsible party should stop politicising this very sensitive matter further. The nation has already paid high cost for politicising our military. We need to maintain a clear and distinct line between civilian and military affairs. The more we maintain the safe line, the better for the nation. Subsequently, we want our leaders to focus on economic prosperity in an age of Asian Century.
The author is a researcher. He can be reached at his e-mail at: zak_info@yahoo.co.uk.

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