BDR to get new name, uniform, intelligence unit | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 19, 2009

BDR to get new name, uniform, intelligence unit

Reform proposal placed to PM also asks for change in BDR Order 1972; PM okays new name 'Border Guard Bangladesh'

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) will soon become Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) while laws governing the border security force, and its uniform will also see some changes as the prime minister okayed most of the proposals for restructuring the force yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the go-ahead after BDR Director General (DG) Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam presented the set of recommendations to her at the Prime Minister's Office.
The new uniform of the border security force will be of 'brown combat colour' while slight changes will also come to the force's insignia, keeping its theme 'Shimante Atondro Prohori' unchanged.
"The prime minister chose the new name from several proposed names. She also chose the brown combat colour for the uniform, and directed to bring slight changes to the BDR insignia," Commerce Minister Faruk Khan who was present at the meeting told The Daily Star afterwards.
A proposal for changes in the BDR Order 1972, says that serious offences like murder, attempt to murder, looting, and arson, cannot be tried under the law because those offences are not mentioned in it.
Besides, departmentally promoted officers like assistant directors, deputy assistant directors, and civilian employees of BDR cannot be tried under that law because it has no provision for trying those persons.
The highest punishment for mutiny under the BDR Order is seven years' rigorous imprisonment, which the recommendations found inadequate in light of the gravity of the February 25-26 mutiny, saying the offences committed during the mutiny deserve capital punishment.
Highly placed sources said a three-layer intelligence unit equipped with modern equipment has been proposed instead of the single layer Rifles Security Unit (RSU) as it had failed to get advance intelligence about the recent mutiny and the subsequent carnage at the force's Pilkhana headquarters that left 74 persons including 57 army officials killed.
As a part of the first layer of the new intelligence network, special desks will be set up at the National Security Intelligence (NSI), and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) for BGB.
The second layer will carry out counter intelligence, working under a regional head, similar to that of the army and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab). The third layer will collect internal field intelligence and cross-border intelligence, like the field intelligence unit of the army.
Keeping the force's reserved arms and ammunition in nearby cantonments instead of with its battalions has also been recommended.
Fixing rank based retirement ages for its members, like in the army, has been proposed as well.
"The premier asked the BDR chief to place a formal proposal to the government for taking appropriate measures to go into the implementation phase," said Faruk who has been heading a high-powered government committee for coordinating the activities of the Prime Minister's Office, and the ministries of home and defence, following the bloody mutiny.
Talking to The Daily Star, one of the meeting sources said the prime minister assured the BDR chief that changes will be brought to the BDR Order through the parliament, saying the existing law is quite weak.
Sheikh Hasina asked the BDR DG to submit a draft of amendments to the existing BDR law to the cabinet through the home ministry.
Contacted by The Daily Star, the BDR DG said the prime minister listened to his whole presentation intently and gave some guidelines for bringing changes to some of the proposals, while agreeing with most of them.
"I'll submit the proposals to the prime minister again after bringing necessary changes to those in line with her guidelines," he said.
Asked about the prime minister's reaction to his proposals, Maj Gen Mainul said she instructed him to work keeping in mind the overall welfare of the force.
Regarding a proposal for offering golden handshakes in phases to those BDR personnel who are not out of suspicion although not found guilty, the premier suggested thinking more about it, and to find out if there could be other options, as the issue is very complicated.
Faruk Khan said the prime minister appreciated the BDR DG's presentation.
The proposals include increasing the number of battalions outside the Pilkhana headquarters, and also transfer of three battalions to Keraniganj, Narayanganj, and Savar from there.
Recruiting retired army personnel into the border security force has also been proposed.
Asked about it, Mainul said the measure has been proposed considering the highest possible use of experienced human resources.
He said the prime minister assured them of considering all proposals with utmost importance.
Other meeting sources said after handing over the proposals around 12:00pm, the BDR DG made a presentation explaining them using a projector.
State Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku was also present among other senior civil and military officials.

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