Business behind BDR mutiny
The army's involvement in business is the biggest threat to their profession and it is one of the reasons that led to BDR mutiny, reported a BBC radio documentary yesterday.
The committee for investigating the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny in its report recommended keeping army or any other security forces from business, said the documentary titled "Fouji Banijjo" (military in business).
The investigation committee was comprised of army representatives and they accepted the report unanimously.
The last part of the nine-episode documentary said that one of the reasons behind the resentment in BDR was their involvement in the "Dal-Bhat" (fair price shop) programme. The allegation of corruption in the program brewed grievance among BDR members.
In an interview with BBC, chief of the investigation committee Anisuzzaman said, "There were scopes for corruption in the Dal-Bhat programme and that triggered discontent in BDR which later turned into a mutiny."
"As a result we have recommended the government to engage all military or para-military forces fully in their chartered duties, which is to protect the country, not to run any institution," he added.
Former army chief Lt Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman said, “Army should not get involved in any financial or industrial or business activities. The Dal-Bhat project is a mere example of a disastrous consequences.”
M Moniruzzaman, former chief of Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Securities Studies, said, “The less the army gets involved in activities other than protecting the country, the better it is.”
"There is hardly any business sector in the country where the army do not have interest. It is obviously wrong and needs to stop," said former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan.
"If they keep running hotels, garments or power plants when will they focus on the country's security?" he added.
Idris Ali, chief of parliamentary standing committee on defence, however said the projects or plans that the army has taken so far are philanthropic or related to it. He thinks that this does not affect their duty.
The BBC documentary also observed that the leading people in military and civil sectors seemed quite uncomfortable over the issue. It is certain that the more the army gets involved in business the stronger the debate would be.
The final episode of the documentary by Kamal Ahmed also cited some businesses--especially, those in which the army is involved in collaboration with overseas firms. The programme also raised questions over the army's transparency and accountability in terms of business audits.