Once again "Operation Dal-Bhat" came in the spotlight as the High Court in its verdict yesterday recommended prohibiting activities that belittle the pride and self-respect of the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).
Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder placed a seven-point recommendation while delivering the verdict.
The HC also recommended forbidding any activity or programme that “gradually degenerates” the soldierly attitude and behaviour of the BGB members.
Earlier, a lower court in its judgment had observed that the glorious history of the 218-year-old Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) was damaged by its involvement in a programme like “Operation Dal-Bhat” that left a serious impact on the goodwill, professionalism and honesty of the force.
The lower court had also observed that involving the BDR in controlling price hike of essentials was not fruitful due to the absence of a specific mechanism to that end and it had destroyed the moral fabric of the disciplined force and led to the 2009 mutiny.
The Dal-Bhat operation was introduced in 2007 when food prices were soaring. Under the programme, the force sold essentials to people at a reasonable price and kept the profit.
"By late 2008, most border guards started to believe that their bosses had deprived them of their right share of the profit. This resentment blended with their age-old discontent about being led by army officers on deputation."
A handful of hardcore mutineers cashed in on this pent-up resentment of the members of BDR, now renamed BGB, to stage the mutiny, said the court.
While delivering the verdict yesterday, the three-member special HC bench also called for investigating the failure of intelligence in the light of the Pilkhana carnage.
“This court strongly feels that the BGB authorities should make an inquiry into the matter by forming a probe committee as to why the Rifle Security Unit of BDR failed to provide necessary information of the BDR massacre in Pilkhana before commission of the same,” said the HC bench, asking to make the report public as early as possible.
“It is also the view of this court that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the BGB authorities should provide fast decision/reply to all problems of BGB members,” said Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder.
"This is also the view of this court that the BGB should mitigate all the grievances of BGB members, if any.
"The court is also of the view that the BDR authorities should make quick payment of TA and DA [Travelling Allowance and Dearness Allowance], if any, to the BGB members which are still pending.
"The court further expects that the BGB authorities would consider the leave of the BGB members which are due to them and solve all problems relating to leave and other matters," it added.