The BDR Pilkhana case verdict by no means can ever heal the wounds of those who have lost their dearest ones in the massacre. The Supreme Court’s decision on trying the mutineers directly involved in the killings, under Penal Code 1860, has to be much appreciated since the accused like DAD Tauhid, Jalil, Habib and others deserve nothing less than the death penalty for their crimes committed inside the BDR headquarters on February 25-26, 2009. The massacre had a total death toll of 74, including 57 brilliant officers of the Bangladesh Army.
It’s not clear what might have been the story behind the carnage. I believe all readers are very well aware that so far no report on the inquiries of the trial has been made public, although the bloody incident took place about five ago.
For soldiers to point rifles at their ranking officers, taking their lives not just by bullets but with bayonets, dragging their bodies to previously dug mass graves, or throwing the bodies through manholes – are actions certainly not expected out of the blue from a disciplined uniformed force. What could be the motive or the instigation behind it?
The general masses, or civil society, have various points of views with regard to the Pilkhana tragedy. Some say there was involvement from outside, some talk of the government’s inaction during the incident, and some choose to point fingers at the intelligence agencies.
People in general have been left to guess for the lack of any truth coming out from any quarter. Therefore it was of utmost importance that a fair trial be held. The families of shaheed officers deserve justice and want to know the reasons behind the carnage.
Questions like, why the BDR jawans would engage in mutiny, who backed them up, what did they expect out of this, and who gained at the cost of so many army officers, were brought up. Was it a conspiracy to weaken the Bangladesh Army for decades or forever?
Demand for a judicial commission
Here is a proposal which the government may choose to grant. An investigation may be conducted by a judicial inquiry commission that may be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice. The commission would work autonomously and have access to legal and other documents, and also to the BDR jawans in jail for questioning.
Expectations from the commission are that their findings will be made available to the public. In that case, not only can the abettors be found, but there can also be details of the massacre starting from the initial movement of the mutineers and the distribution of leaflets (containing materials instigating the jawans) among the soldiers one day before Darbar started in the morning of February 25.
The people of this country and families of the victims have a right to know the actual reasons of the mutiny and who was behind the massacre.
The government has done something to help the families of the deceased officers. But it’s not enough. A paltry sum of 1.5m paid by the government and the army to the victims’ families is to be the value of a life like my father Col Quadrat Elahi, ndc, psc, an outstanding officer in the Bangladesh Army.
Having stood first in his MBA from IBA, in his professional career, he was a meritorious officer who was instructor twice in SINT (School of Infantry and Tactics), a post reserved only for the officer who stands first in his course.
He was also directing staff and senior instructor in the defence services command and staff college and instructor of MIST (Military Institute of Science and Technology). He was sector commander in the Sudan peacekeeping force, and received the Gallantry Award from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who flew to Sudan to present the award.
Lastly he was posted to Dinajpur as sector commander, BDR, where he served only for one month and ten days. The reward for this illustrious unarmed soldier was to be shot or bayonetted inside the Pilkhana for no fault at all. Many of his fellow victims were extraordinary like him.
My humble request to the government on behalf of all the shaheed families is to please consider giving a little more thought to unveiling the real truth behind this most tragic incident, where 57 high ranking officers were so brutally killed in one day.
Can anybody return my father, my mentor, and my best friend on earth?