TFI Cell at Pilkhana may be withdrawn | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 11, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 11, 2010

TFI Cell at Pilkhana may be withdrawn

The temporary Taskforce for Interrogation (TFI) cell, set up at the Pilkhana headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) after the February 2009 mutiny in the border security force, is likely to be shut down following allegations of torture of mutiny suspects there, sources in the home ministry said.
The cell, which is comprised of officials of different intelligence agencies and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), interrogated several thousand BDR soldiers since the mutiny that had killed 75 persons including 57 army officers deputed to the force. The interrogations are still on.
A three-member committee has been formed with Additional Home Secretary Md Ghulam Hussain as its chairman to arrange the disbandment of the cell. The other two members of the committee are CID chief Additional Inspector General of Police Shah Jamal Raj, and BDR Director General Md Mainul Islam.
"The committee will meet next week to take the decision of shutting down the cell," a senior official of the home ministry told The Daily Star yesterday.
There are widespread allegations by human rights organisations that accused BDR soldiers were tortured during interrogations at the cell.
According to the rules, the interrogations are supposed to be held in presence of representatives from all relevant agencies including the police department, but in most cases it was not followed properly, alleged some home ministry officials.
Many of those who were interrogated at the cell later became ill. So far 67 accused BDR soldiers died in hospitals or committed suicide.
In the face of criticisms from different human rights organisations following the rising number of deaths of BDR jawans, the government formed a committee to probe into the 'unnatural deaths'.
Headed by the then deputy home secretary Zakir Hossain, the committee submitted its report after months of investigation, terming all the deaths as 'unnatural'.
Two murder cases were filed with New Market police station against unidentified persons on October 2, 2009 in connection with the deaths of two BDR jawans.
The cases were filed after post mortem reports confirmed that Lance Nayek Mobarak Hossain of Battalion-29 and Havildar Mohiuddin, 48, of Battalion-28 of Chittagong had been murdered.
Mobarak died in Pilkhana Hospital on March 22 and Mohiuddin on May 5. Later, New Market police sent the bodies to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Sources said police filed the murder cases against unidentified persons, although the victims were in joint custody of the CID, Rapid Action Battalion, and army personnel at Pilkhana.
Family members of the victims alleged although the two BDR soldiers were tortured to death, the police filed two unnatural death cases.
Sources at Dhaka Medical College morgue said Mobarak's wrists, arms, knees, and shoulders were badly bruised and swollen. Mohiuddin's body also bore several injury marks, they added.

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