2 politicians convicted
Former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu and Awami League ward-level leader Torab Ali got life term yesterday in the Pilkhana carnage trial.
The Third Additional Judge's Court in Dhaka found the duo guilty of involvement in the killing of 57 army officers during the bloody mutiny at Pilkhana in 2009.
Pintu, a former president of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, was also convicted of instigating the massacre while Torab of conspiring.
Questions were raised about the mutiny-time role of some ruling AL lawmakers, including Fazle Noor Taposh, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Mirza Azam.
However, no probe has found their involvement in the massacre of 74 people, including the 57 senior and mid-ranking officers.
Taposh, Nanak and Azam gave depositions before the court about their process of negotiation with the mutineers on weapons surrender and freeing hostages.
Some jawans had met Taposh months before the mutiny, as per the prosecution documents. They sought the lawmaker's help for realising their demands, including share in the profit from Operation Dal-Bhat, UN mission jobs and appointment of their officers from BCS cadres.
Also, 30-35 jawans led by Sepoy Selim Reza and Mayeen held a meeting at the rented house of Lance Naik Jakaria on the night of February 24, the charge sheet says.
The house, owned by one Shamsuzzaman, is close to the residence of Nasir Uddin Pintu on Maneshwar Road, near Pilkhana gate No 5.
Pintu was seen talking with “conspirators” on the road that night before and after the meeting, according to the charge sheet.
On February 25, 2009, as the mutiny broke out at the headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), now renamed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), some locals brought out a procession and chanted slogans supporting the mutineers.
Nasir Uddin Pintu encouraged the mob with claps.
The BNP leader was one of those who helped jawans run away from Pilkhana. He provided some mutineers, who were fleeing through Keraniganj, with engine boats to cross the river Buriganga.
Torab Ali came to know about the mutiny conspiracy on the night of February 24 from Zakir Hossain, owner of Prime Coaching Centre, from where BDR Jawans published their leaflets.
But Torab did not disclose it to any law enforcement agency or authorities concerned. Rather, he organised processions at Pilkhana gate No 1 and 5 on February 25, chanting slogans like “BDR, Janata bhai bhai [brothers]”.
Some civilians led by former BNP ward commissioner Suraiya Begum, her two sons and hooligans “Leather” Liton and Masud supplied clothes, food and water to the BDR members fleeing Pilkhana.
Asked for comment after the verdict, Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu told reporters at the courtroom, “There was no witness against me.”