At least 7 fired on BDR chief
An officer of erstwhile BDR yesterday gave a Dhaka court an account of how BDR rebels shot their chief and 11 other senior officers during the 2009 BDR mutiny at the Pilkhana headquarters.
Their bodies were recovered later from a mass grave in the headquarters premises.
This is for the first time that any BDR officer has described how the then BDR director general Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed came under fire at the Darbar Hall on the first day of the February 25-26 mutiny.
Most of the 57 senior and mid-rank army officers, including Shakil, were killed in and around the Darbar hall hours after the mutiny broke out. The rebels also killed Shakil's wife and 16 others in Pilkhana.
Lt Col Maksudul Haque, commanding officer of 7 Battalion of Border Guard Bangladesh, yesterday gave a deposition at Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court as the ninth witness in the BDR carnage case.
The officer told the court that he was a major at BDR Comilla Sector at that time, and went to Pilkhana to receive a medal for his role in combating border smuggling.
He said there was chaos inside the Darbar Hall, as some jawans shouted “Jago” in the hall after a gunshot outside.
The DG ordered all to sit down. But the jawans started to move out of the hall, breaking its windowpanes as they did so. Maksudul then heard more gunshots, and gradually the sound of gunfire got louder.
When bullets were sprayed into the hall, the DG and other officers took cover behind the podium.
"I hid behind the drapes next to the podium in the Darbar Hall, and watched what was happening," said the witness.
Ten to 15 jawans suddenly entered the hall and started firing indiscriminately. They asked the officers to come out of cover with their hands up.
"As 10 to 15 officers came out of cover following their call, the jawans took them out of the Darbar hall at gunpoint, and soon I heard repeated gunshots outside."
Moments later Sepoy Selim Reza entered the hall with a firearm and a mega phone. He asked the remaining officers to come out of cover. When he threatened to kill them unless they followed his order, the BDR director general, deputy director general and nearly 10 other officers came out of cover.
"As the officers walked down the podium, Selim Reza used abusive language at them, and asked all to 'go one by one'. The officers walked towards the west of the hall in a line," he said.
“The moment the director general stepped out of the hall, the rebels fired shots at the officers indiscriminately."
The witness said he saw sepoys Selim Reza, Atowar, Ibrahim,Obaidul, and Rafiqul of 44 Rifle Battalion, Sepoy Sazzad of 13 Rifle Battalion and Lance Nayek Ekramul of 24 Rifle Battalion spraying the officers with bullets.
At one point, he ran to the boundary wall next to the family quarters near the hall and escaped by jumping over the wall.
However, a defence counsel told the court that the prosecution witness had come up with a false statement against his client.
The lawyer said it was not possible for the witness to see what was happening in front of the four-feet-high podium, as he had admitted during cross-examination that he hid behind it for an hour.
The witness, however, refuted the lawyer's claim.
The court adjourned proceedings till today.
Earlier, defence counsels completed cross-examination of the eighth witness in the case.