People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 11

March 22, 2009



BDR Revolt Poses Serious Challenge Before Hasina

Gautam Das

IT is an open secret that extremist and secessionist groups of the north-eastern states of India are regularly smuggling sophisticated arms, ammunitions and explosives into Indian territory from Bangladesh territories with the active connivance of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). In many bordering areas, the BDR is trying to engage the BSF in border clashes by resorting to unprovoked firing upon them. Killing of more than a dozen BSF officers and jawans along the Bangladesh-Meghalaya border a few years back and preplanned murder of one BSF officer near Agartala are some examples.

Only recently, after establishment of a new government, the Bangladesh authorities started taking some steps to change the attitude of the BDR and to end hostilities towards Indian people. Slain BDR Chief Major General Shakil Ahmed was playing a very positive role in this regard.

In the recent parliamentary election in Bangladesh, arrest and prosecution of liberation war criminals was one of the major demands of the people. The Sheikh Hasina government passed a resolution in the newly elected Jatiya Samsad (national parliament) to bring the war criminals to justice. It is known to everybody that notorious Razakars, Al Shams, Al Badar, who helped the Pakistani army in killing thousands of people and gang rape women during the Bangladesh Liberation Struggle in 1971, had converted themselves into the Jamaat-e-Islami, a, Islamic fundamentalist party that was an alliance partner of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). During the rule of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government in 2001-06, the Islami Chhatra Sibir, student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, captured all the University Students Halls and the Medical College Students Hall except in Dhaka University. Not only that; during this period they infiltrated their cadres in the army, paramilitary and police forces and also in the administration.

The decision of the Awami League government, led by Sheikh Hasina, to create a task force to combat the terrorists, the passage of a resolution in the new parliament to bring to justice the war criminals, steps to improve all round bilateral relations with India including the providing of transit facilities naturally enraged those political forces in Bangladesh who are continuously spreading anti-India canards.

Targeted killing of army officers who have the track record of fighting against the fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh is no doubt a deep-rooted conspiracy. Political forces defeated in the election are out to destabilise the Awami League led secular democratic government. After the BDR revolt, statements made by former prime minister and BNP president Begum Khaleda Zia, her party MP Salauddin Kader Chaudhury and also by the Jamaat-e-Islami that the Sheikh Hasina government helped the killers of army officers in fleeing by not allowing the army to enter the BDR headquarters and also by granting general amnesty to them, bear testimony to this fact, though Sheikh Hasina clarified that she had no other alternative as she wanted to save the families of the army officers who were inside the BDR campus and also to prevent bloody clashes between two armed forces. On March 7, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned her countrymen, saying that the conspiracy had not ended. Their aim is to throw the country into a civil war and to dislodge the elected democratic government. She also informed about the decision of the government to start the trial of war criminals, effective steps to speed up the trial of the killers of Sheikh Mujibar Rahaman, leader of the Banagladesh freedom movement and her father, order of a fresh inquiry into the detention of 10 truck-loads of illegal sophisticated arms and explosives at Chittagong meant for Indian extremists, effective steps for a trial of grenade attack upon her in Dhaka City 5 years ago with the intention of killing her (in which attack, 24 people including Ivy Rahaman, the wife of present Bangladesh president Zillur Rahaman were killed). Revelation of the names of the conspirators naturally angered them and they are now hatching new conspiracies to destabilise the government led by her.

In the meantime, many of the rebels have fled away with a number of arms and explosives and they are still at large. They are mostly from those areas where Islamic fundamentalist forces are very active. Possibility of their joining with fundamentalist and extremist forces is not ruled out. So far, 169 rebels have been arrested, mostly from BDR headquarters, and they are being interrogated. The government has also decided to totally reorganise and rename the BDR.

The Bangladesh government and army have, separately, started conducting inquiries. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision of inviting Americans intelligence agency FBI for help has created some amount of resentment among some of her supporting parties. It is an open secret that the ISI of Pakistan is very active in Bangladesh and it is being aided by the CIA. The decision to invite an imperialist intelligence Agency has already been criticised by many political parties. The situation developing in Bangladesh, thus, requires cautious and constant watch.