Sunday, April 14, 2024

Investigators gather evidence to try culprits in BDR rebellion

BSS, Dhaka
Police yesterday said, they started gathering evidence of the massacre during the two days of mutiny in the paramilitary Bangladesh troops a day after a case was lodged against 1,000 rebel soldiers as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised their punishment after fast tracked trial.
“We have already gathered enough evidence including the survivors statements and the process is underway to collect more,” said Nabo Jyoti Khisha, the chief of Lalbagh police station where the case was filed suspecting six BDR members as leaders of the massacre when an estimated 135 army officers serving the paramilitary force were killed.
The figure excluded the slain wives, relatives, civilians and BDR soldiers, who apparently died for standing against the massacre while unofficial reports said, their number was as high as 18.
Khisha said, police identified BDR’s deputy assistant director Touhidul Alam as the main leader of the mutiny as he led a rebel delegation in talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday to obtain a government amnesty keeping hostage the army officers and their family members inside the BDR headquarters at Pilkhana at the heart of the city.
“The massacre took place under his (Touhid’s) leadership . . . the rebels had accepted him as their leader,” Khisha said. Touhid was arrested as he tried to flee away from the BDR headquarters after the mutiny.
Officials earlier said, the culprits used an old vehicle to carry their weapons and ammunitions.
Khisa’s comments came as the case was handed over to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police appointing senior additional superintendent Abdul Kahhar Akand, the official who was the investigation officer of the delayed murder case of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The government late yesterday constituted a second enquiry committee after the one formed soon after the mutiny with Home Minister Sharara Khatun as its leader while army said they launched a separate investigation into the massacre.
Police earlier said, the suspects were accused of carrying out the killings of their officers and their family members in a planned manner.
Lalbagh police accused four BDR deputy assistant directions (DAD) including Touhid and to lower rank soldiers of the paramilitary troops of “leading the revolt, taking hostage, setting fire and hiding the bodies of the officials and their spouses”.
Bangladesh today formally sought US assistance for investigation process with Foreign Minister summoning US envoy to convey the request for FBI help as Sheikh Hasina yesterday told parliament her government would invite United Nations, US and Britain to extend their hand.
Hundreds of BDR soldiers reported back to their barracks while a countrywide manhunt was launched to track down rebel fugitives engaging army troops alongside police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) after the expiry of a 24- hour deadline for their surrender yesterday.
Home Minister Shahara Khatun told reporters that directives were issued to continue the army engagement for hunt for the rebels under a military operation codenamed “Operation Rebel Hunt” until all of them were brought to justice.
She also asked people to inform the police if they found any of the accused hiding in towns or villages while a home ministry statement was issued shortly thereafter reinforcing her comments.
RAB spokesman Commander Abul Kalam Azad told BSS that they alone arrested over 200 suspected BDR rebels as they left their barracks defying orders to stay back after the rebellion.
The Prime Minister earlier reiterated her promise to bring the killers and their masterminds to justice saying “I will not forgive the killers as well as their patrons” and called the massacre part of a deep rooted plot and vowed to try them constituting fast tracked tribunals, if required enacting tough new laws.
Addressing the parliament yesterday, she urged the members of all armed forces and law enforcement agencies to be cautious “taking lessons from the two days of mutiny”.
“They (plotters) could not reap benefit from the mutiny, but they will not remain idle, the conspiracy will continue,” she said.

Courtesy of www.thebangladeshtoday.com

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