The BDR Mutiny of 2009 – Too Shocking

Sukhamaya Bain

It made me speechless to see the gruesome stories of the mutiny that took place, beginning February 25, 2009, at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in the capital city, Dhaka.

The Director General of the border guard force of Bangladesh has been murdered apparently by gunshots and bayonet charges. His wife has met a similar horrific death. Their bodies have been found in mass graves. Bodies of tens of BDR officers have also been found in the most disrespectful dispositions, in mass graves, in manholes, and in sewer lines. The total body count is likely to reach close to two hundred, most being those of BRD officers.

The reasons for the mutiny, as they appeared first, were the grievances of the BDR rank and file over their poor wages, and the fact that their bosses were not from their branch of the armed forces of Bangladesh.

Indeed, it looks strange that the BDR had to have their officers from the army. Being a poor and backwardly administered nation, this probably is not the only example of the bizarre administrative structures in Bangladesh.

Poverty and meager wages are not strange in Bangladesh either. There are big crooks who steal millions of dollars of public money, which come mostly from foreign aids. They live lavish lifestyle with money that the country begs from foreign donors by showing the poor faces of the mass population. Yet the poor remains unbearably poor. The BDR rank and file is my no means the poorest class among the hard working population of Bangladesh.

At the initial stages of the mutiny, there was a good deal of sympathy in Bangladesh and beyond for the mutineers. Trying to control the situation, and being sympathetic to the causes, the Prime Minister of the country declared a general amnesty for the mutineers. However, as the grisly nature of the savagery started unfolding, the public sympathy started evaporating. Now, most sensible people are aghast with what has happened over a period of 36 hours at the BRR headquarters in Dhaka.

Now, the public officials, including the new BDR Director General, are talking about exemplary punishment for the criminal killers. Now, there is hardly anyone who would ask for the Prime Minister to keep her words of the general amnesty. No reasonable person could ask for the criminals who actually committed the atrocities to be pardoned.

In addition to the monstrosity of the crimes of the gruesome murder of the BDR officers, the news of hundreds of BRD personnel fleeing the headquarters with looted money and goods paints a disgusting picture of the quality of the rank and file of the paramilitary force. What an undisciplined force!

The criminals of the BDR force deserve the most exemplary punishment. A truthful and honest investigation must be done and the criminals must be punished appropriately. There should be no room for any kind of partisan politics, favoritism or undue mercy.

On a bigger picture, Bangladesh also needs a serious soul searching for freeing the nation from the shackles of irresponsibility, corruption and indiscipline.

When a road accident happens, mobs take control of the road, indiscriminately victimizing otherwise innocent motorists. This has become a norm in Bangladesh.

When two criminal gangs of the so-called students fight on the university campus, the impotent autonomous authority of the university closes down the campus, wasting valuable time of thousands of innocent students. There is really no responsible authority to run the campus smoothly.

Bribery and influence peddling are endemic in all governmental services in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is in serious needs for people who would make good laws, rules and regulations; who would abide by laws, rules and regulations; and who would enforce rules, laws and regulations dispassionately.


Dr. Sukhamaya Bain can be reached at : [email protected]

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