Friday, March 1, 2024

Over 1,000 soldiers sued over rebellion

Staff Correspondent
Over 1,000 BDR soldiers were sued on Sunday for rising up against their officers, from the army, in the Bangladesh Rifles Headquarters in Dhaka in February 25–26.
Several score officers and some soldiers and civilians were killed in the rebellion, which broke out Wednesday morning and ended with the surrender of the soldiers after 35 hours late Thursday.
The Lalbagh police officer-in-charge, Nabajyoti Khisha, lodged the case against the soldiers, accused of taking up arms led by four junior BDR officials against their officers.
The plaintiff in the first information report named four junior BDR officials — deputy assistant directors Tahidul Alam, Nasir Uddin Khan, Mirza Habibur Rahman and Abdul Jalil and soldiers Abdur Rahim and Mohammad Selim to have led the rebellion.
Nabajyoti submitted the first information report on the case to the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court.
He lodged the case under 24 sections of the Penal Code accusing the BDR soldiers of hatching a criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage a war against the state, rioting, murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servants from duties, assaulting or using criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duties, committing wrongful confinement, setting fire or using explosive substance with intent to destroy houses, theft after preparations made for causing death, hurt or restraint, and causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offenders.
According to information gathered from different sources, the rebel border guards were instigated by vested interests to destabilise the state for unlawful gains, the police official said in the complaint.
The soldiers were also accused of committing offences being members of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of common object and intention.
Section 149 of the Penal Code was also applied to the case which stipulates every member of an unlawful assembly will be guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object.
The rebels, who concealed the bodies of the army officers and their relatives, were further accused of hostage taking and attempting to dispose of the bodies of their victims by setting fire, burying them in mass graves and dumping them into sewers, according to the complaint.
‘In our primary investigation, we have found involvement of six BDR officials in the rebellion,’ Mohammad Nowsher Ali, joint commissioner (crimes) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, who was assigned to supervise the case, told New Age.
The police said one of the accused, Abdul Jalil, was being treated in Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital. He was on the 14-member team which met the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Wednesday to discuss their demands before the soldiers had laid down their weapons. He was admitted too the hospital Wednesday night.
The officer-in-charge of the Lalbagh police area, which covers the BDR headquarters sprawling over more than 2.6 sq km, in his initial report said the filing of the case was delayed because he needed time to analyse the situation, gather information and complete official formalities.
The government earlier announced the rebels would be prosecuted in a speedy trial tribunal to be set up after amending laws.
Hasina on Sunday listened to the grievances of the army officers at Senakunja in the Dhaka cantonment. She also talked with them.
The death toll in the rebellion, meanwhile, rose up to 73 as a body was found inside a storm sewer on Sunday.
Rescuers found 10 bodies in three mass graves on Saturday, 43 bodies in a mass grave and a sewer and manholes on Friday, 15 bodies in the sewer and inside the headquarters on Thursday, and 2 bodies in the sewer on Wednesday. Three civilians wounded in the firing on Wednesday later died in hospital.
The rescuers until Sunday were searching for 72 officers who still remained missing.
The officers, who survived the incident, said outsiders who travelled into the headquarters were involved in the killing while several hundred
soldiers, enraged at a pay dispute and alleged repression by the officers of the 67,000-strong
force, held the officers hostage.
The rescuers began search operation after the surrender of the rebel soldiers.
The government announced a three-day mourning programme beginning Friday. The national flag was hoisted at half mast for the second day on Sunday.
The parliament on Sunday unanimously adopted an obituary reference on the slain army officers and civilians in the presence of the leader of the house, Sheikh Hasina, and the leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia.
Lawmakers of almost all the parties in an unscheduled discussion on the killing called on all concerned to remain united to tackle the crisis.
They said it was a national crisis and everybody needed to remain united to face the situation.
Several thousand soldiers, who were out of stations before or during the rebellion, meanwhile, returned in response to a government call to report to the headquarters. They waited in long queues in front of the headquarters to join work. They claimed they were not involved in the rebellion.
The namaz-e-janaza of the slain army officers, including the chief of the force Major General Shakil Ahmed, will be held in the National Parade Square at 10:00am today.

Courtesy of

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