From the Editor-in-Chief: BDR tragedy, eight years on

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
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Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal stated the other day that the fugitives in the BDR carnage of February 2009 would be arrested and brought to trial. There are some questions which come up in light of the ministerial announcement. The first concerns the steps taken in the eight years since 74 people, including 57 army officers, were murdered in cold blood by mutineers at the erstwhile Bangladesh Rifles headquarters in Peelkhana to locate these fugitives. Obviously, those steps, if any, have not borne fruit. The second question arises on the issue of how the minister and his department mean to follow through on his statement that the fugitives will be caught and brought to justice.


Eight years is a long time for the law to catch up with criminals. In the aftermath of the carnage, many BDR personnel were placed on trial. Altogether 152 individuals were sentenced to death and 423 others were given prison terms of various durations. And 277 others were acquitted. But there is yet much that people across the spectrum are not fully aware of about the murders committed in February 2009. We recall how some of the leading mutineers even met the Prime Minister on the day of the mutiny and assured her that all the officers of the BDR were safe in their hands. That, as was later revealed, was false. They concealed the information that the officers were dead and were being buried secretly in the grounds of the BDR headquarters.


The case has surely been one of mutiny. But a question remains about the leading players behind the carnage. Who were they? A mutiny of this kind surely must have gone through detailed conspiratorial planning over a long period of time. That is the question that must yet be answered in the larger national interest. The truth today is that there are some significant questions which remain in the public mind about the entire sordid episode. They cannot go unanswered.


Eight years after the BDR tragedy, our hopes are raised just a little by the Home Minister telling us of the government’s determination to nab the fugitives. It is quite possible that some have fled the country. Again, many others are probably around us, in disguise. The government needs to deploy all its intelligence forces in the job of locating these killers. Unwavering determination is needed to accomplish the task.

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