Blogwatch

February 26, 2009
Bangladesh revolt ends after deadly soldier mutiny

Bangladesh’s paramilitary group, the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), launched a revolt in their Dhaka headquarters on Wednesday. Frustrations mounted because of poor pay, rising food costs and the ever-expanding global economic crisis.

The mutinous BDR took hostages and gunfire was reported as the violence spread. At least 11 people were killed before the paramilitary surrendered, after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina — who took office in January — warned them of ”tough action.” The country has a history of political strife, though some had hoped the new government would bring calm.

View PBS Wide Angle’s slideshow of the mutiny here.

Many users commented at “Unheard Voice,” a Bangladeshi blog and Worldfocus contributor, in reaction to the violence:

Zambak: All residents of Pilkhana near the BDR gate (around the two graveyards) have been told to leave the area. I have relatives living there, they are looking for ways to evacuate, some are refusing to move. Crazy situation.

Globetrotter: This situation is a dark chapter in our country’s history. In a country like ours, there will be grievances. But you do not air those grievances by killing your superiors, and turning your guns on civilians.

Fariha: Civilians are being evacuated from Pilkhana. Residents of PWD quarters right next to Rifles have been moved to nearby Jhigatola. I can hear the chopper from Eskaton. The shots fired can be heard from Fuller Road. Two civilans reported injured. Dhaka is rife with rumors.

Blogger Shahidul Alam posted several videos from on the ground, including this footage of negotiations:

Twitter users in Bangladesh also described what they went through:

sudhak: In Dhaka and the situation is getting worse, mutiny spreading, hearing reports that a state of emergency will likely be called.

phpfour: crowd rattled in shahbag…continuous gunshots heard near dhaka uni(versity)

omiazad: Just talked with my father in Dinajpur. BDR are shooting at anything. They are so desperate. Our house is just beside Kuthibari BDR Camp.

Follow live discussions on the violence here on Twitter.

An American Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh writes about the panic:

This morning was just like any other.  Woke up at 7, finally rolled out by 7:20.  By 8:05, I was on the micro-bus taking me to ICDDR,B.  8:15, and I was already working at my computer.  It was a little after 10 today when news came that there had been shots fired within the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Headquarters in Dhanmondi.  No one really knew what was going on […] News here does not travel as fast as it does at home, but we eventually discovered that it was an internal problem, and then later that the Director General had been killed.

This is when people in my office started getting pretty worried. Mejbah, who is usually very chill, called all of his family members (parents, siblings, wife) and ordered them to all go home.  I had never seem him so concerned or upset before. […] all Americans at ICDDR,B were told to go home immediately and stay within the diplomatic enclave.  So I gathered my things and hurried downstairs where there was a rather large group of Americans gathered.  We were quickly assigned to cars and rushed home.  Once I got home, I was greeted by Tiffany, who had asked Noorealam and Moslehuddin to come to our apartment since they live right next to the BDR Headquarters.  They had heard the shots firing and had seen army tanks filing into the area earlier that day.

Blogger “Rezwan” writes that while the BDR may have had grievances, its tactics were wrong:

I am personally very sad to see many brilliant army officers and jawans, who were brutally killed and also many BDR jawans who were killed in the process. My prayer goes out to their families and may their souls rest in peace. Grievance or no grievances I don’t support these kinds of acts of the mutineers. They have killed people like animals. No one is guilty until proven and the problem with taking law in your hand is that many innocent people die and you never get to know who was the real culprit. I do not support the amnesty against these mutineers. The amnesty can be given to rebellion but not the killings. Those who killed should get exemplary punishment so that the nation do not have to go through this kind of trauma again.

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Comments

4 comments

#4

Advantages of Creation of Bangladesh to Pakistan.

M.Akram Khan, Pakistan

Usually smaller Parts of a country having extraordinary resources tries to break away from the mainland to take the maximum advantage of their resources for their advantage, and to protect themselves from the drain of their resources to majority or dominant section of the country, but in case of Pakistan Majority Part on the basis of population, which was also having scare resources, separated from the other part,Generally,it is regarded as an unfortunate event for Pakistan by people of Pakistan, and no Pakistani tries to see other side of the coin of that event for analysis of the benefits achieved to them by this event

The reason of this is that all literature about that event has been written by those who were living in East Pakistan and they suffered personally by this event, due to which they always indicate their miseries and losses and forget to explain the advantages of that event to whole Pakistani Nation.Therefore, it is necessary to see the real results of this event. With the separation of East Pakistan, following advantages were achieved to Pakistan.

1.Economical

•Separation of Bangladesh was as much beneficial for Pakistan as separation of Pakistan from India.

•As the part of world in which East Pakistan was situated, was having limited resources, and many poor areas of subcontinent are situated in that part, such as Bihar and Assam and West Bengal, Burma and Bhuttan.Technically it was not in the interest of Pakistan, to keep itself attached with East Bengal(Historically one of the most poorest area of subcontinent) .Infact Pakistan after separation saved its future from economic burden of poverty ridden Bangladesh,

• Huge Population and scare resources of East Bengal were clear Indicators, that there will be no extraordinary progress in future in that province and no sensible person may think that it was valuable for Pakistan to keep itself attached with most poverty ridden part of this region.

•Being a part of East Pakistan, rulers were forcing to West Pakistani citizens to become a market of East Pakistan’s low quality Products, such as Tea, Pans and jute on artificial high prices on the name of Patriotism, while now such type high quality Products may be purchased from other countries on very low prices.

•After separation of Bangladesh, it was possible for Pakistan to make its economic policies without having any concern of interests of a far situated part.

•Pakistan Economic Managers relieved themselves from the Economic restrictions due to economic interest of East Bengal. That situation was as much harmful, as today Pakistan start to take care of the economic interest of Myanmar or West Bengal; it is certain that such type situation will be disastrous for Pakistan.

•With the analysis of economic situation of present day Pakistan and Bangladesh, shows that Pakistan GDP and Foreign currency reserves are double than that of Bangladesh and Electricity production is also 5 times more It is obvious, that separation was much more in the interest of Pakistan, Because, the only solution of the Disparity between two parts, was to serve the Bangladesh with the resources of West Pakistan. Otherwise there was no other magic solution to finish that disparity.

•It is still obvious that, there is still no charm in having trade links with countries of South Asia, because it is not in the economic interest of Pakistan, instead of that we should focus on rich and developed areas such as China, Middle East, Far East, Europe and USA.

2.Political Advantages.

•Due to extraordinary majority of Bengali Population, it was not possible for any province of West Pakistan to become equivalent to that majority any time in future, and it was certain that representatives of Provinces of West Pakistan will always remain in opposition in assemblies as per modern time democracy principles, this was really a frightening situation and the People of Pakistan were going to be ruled by any ethnocentric Bengali Leader or by any Bengali Military dictator for ever.

•Due to Bengali nationalism and ethnocentrism, on the basis of which People of Bangladesh were victimizing the Urdu Speaking Muslim refugees from India and that is still continue, and their Ethnic Cleansing with aborigines people of CHT, were clearly indicating that people of that area were not sincere and aware of the Ideology of Pakistan, infact attachment of Pakistan with East Bengal was self deception and nothing else.

•Due to agitation style and different culture, the politicians of East Pakistan were always blaming Pakistan for their problems and exploitations, while people of Pakistan were worried about deteriorating condition of people of East Pakistan due to poverty and natural disasters, and they were too much fed up with that situation as they were seeing no end of all this, as this thing was also harming the Basic Ideology of Pakistan, and therefore to get rid of this situation and to avoid baseless allegations it was necessary to separate that area(East Bengal) from Pakistan, and this was the main reason that West Pakistani Military Personnel, even having capability for defending that part decided very easily and conveniently to end their any relation with that land on the basis of the facts that they were tired of all those messy affairs.

• Due to separation of East Pakistan, Pakistan saved itself and its ideology from baseless criticism of Bengalese Politicians, and now on real grounds they are blaming each other for their problems.

•With the separation of Bangladesh, Pakistan Islamic Ideology became more prominent with the introduction of Islamic laws and future scenario of Pakistan became much more firmed with the conversion of population ratio to 98 % Muslims, while with Bangladesh, presence of Huge Hindu minority was having adverse effects on the ideological progress of the country.

Security Advantages:

As East Pakistan was situated in the abdomen and inside the body of India and thousand miles away from West Pakistan, India was using that fact for blackmailing and pressurizing Pakistan from the beginning, In fact burden of huge population of East Bengal was loaded on West Pakistan to make Pakistan a crippled and failed state by Indian National Congress. India used that part as a button for keeping under pressure to Pakistan in 1947, in war of 1965 and again in 1970 with policy to occupy large chunk of land in East Pakistan. Due to 1000 miles distance between both parts and that also filled by enemy land, in such worst scenario even maintaining contacts between security forces and their mobility was in fact a difficult, expensive and life taking task, accompanied with wastage of huge resources, ultimately resulting in weakening of Defense forces and economy of the country. By separation of East Bengal, Pakistan was able to get rid of its weak point which was a most easy and favorite target of India. Due to that now Pakistan Defense is more strong and protected as compared to vulnerable and weak position before 1971.

Social Advantages:

•With the separation of Bengal flow of population from densely populated Bangladesh to parts of West Pakistan stopped, which was a good development for the culture and social set up of West Pakistan.

•Due to two national languages, Cutural evolution of the people of West Pakistan was stopped and their local languages were dying, with the separation of Bangladesh, that process was stopped.

•After separation of Bangladesh huge jobs opportunities were raised for people of different provinces of West Pakistan in both Federal and Provincial Governments. Due to elimination of share of people of Bengalese in civilian Jobs, which resulted in an increase in participation of local population in the affairs of country, by this their sense of depriving was minimized.

•People of Bengal are usually dark skinned, while people of West Pakistan were of Fair Skinned, due to continuous flow of Bengalese from East Bengal was creating racial discomfort and fears in the mind of local populations, that by this they will become minority in their own provinces, specially in the case when Federal Government was encouraging Bengalese to rehabilitate in West Pakistan, By separation of East Bengal this process of migration was also stopped.

It is crystal clear from all above mentioned facts that separation from Problematic East Bengal created new life and new freedom in Pakistan.

Written By M.Akram Khan.
Karachi,Pakistan
E.Mail :akrumniazi@hotmail.com
=======================================================

#3

The BDR carnage was a systematic preplanned killing of the best collection of army officers who were national assets. Nothing can replace this damage. This has severely affected the morale of all members of the armed forces particularly the junior officers. They became so emotional that they only think of military action could have been the best option given the fact the rebels were too afraid to run away if army moved in. However, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh wisely opted for a peaceful solution rather than purely military action, fearing it could mess up the conflict into a full-blown bloodbath within the BDR compound. The decision was very critical, which is now proved to have been handled with remarkable political wisdom and foresight, resolve and equanimity. The army has also shown remarkable good sense, they remained absolutely steadfast to the unified command though there were many agitation and anger under the uncertainly of the situation and external provocation. While the officers were struggling to comfort each other from the grief, its very unfortunate that some strong media shows sympathy to the rebels and their colaborators. This kind of journalism adds more scars to our wounds and creates unrest in the society.

#2

The actrocities and act of BDR soldiers against military officer was pathetic which cant be tolarated. We have not seen those killing in 71 nor even our so called Rajakar did such a serious crime. Our Army and officer serving there is our blood, they are protecting our mother land. Out govt and military authority must take action against those culpit and awful BDR soldiers and give them sheet. How these could happen, how we will tolarate these killing ? Cant be accepetd. This is beyond justice.

#1

[...] * World Focus: Bangladesh revolt ends after deadly soldier mutiny. [...]

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