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Bangladesh: BDR Mutiny And Gunfires

Unheard Voice is live blogging and posting pictures of gunfires and battles inside the headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the paramilitary forces of Bangladesh. Apparently this is a mutiny and senior officers were reported killed. More roundups and news are available at The 3rd World View and BDfact.

48 comments

  • Hi, i’m an expat over in Dhaka and was wondering if anyone knows anything about possible curfews over the city? I’ve hear a lot of talk about it and there was one enforced during the 2007 riots. Was anyone down in Dhanmondi when it happened or does anyone know anybody who is a part of it? Their pay surely cannot be the reason, i mean people riot that all the time here but they don’t stage mutiny’s. They can’t be stupid enough to think that if they take hostages and shoot a few people the government will shove a bunch of money and benefits in their hands, give them a pat on the back and tell them to keep up the good job? There must be a more logical reasoning behind the gunfire. Or at least a better excuse than pay. I can understand other riots beginning over it, i know how it works here, snowball effect, one person starts a disruption over anything in the city and they will have 200 people around them in 30 seconds, yelling about it at the top of their lungs and another 200 disagreeing with them, violence breaks out, etc, happens all the time, but this wasn’t the general public, these were soldiers who took over a shopping centre and shot at civillians. I’m really interested to know what on earth their motivation was and what they planned to achieve.

    • sujon

      i am not sure also wht is happening there clearly but the things i can guess……..

      1. there was the darbar in the hall so as i know this type of programme the members joined there with seremonial dress and they r not allowed to join there with weapon. but they claimed that the officers fired to them but it was not possible for them. that was the wrong statement given by them to make their strong stand. 2. as i knw they killed 37 officers though i got the news from one of my friend but they killed the officers and thrown them to the drains. but till this time there in any news we could not see any bdr soldiersdeadbody.

      3. they were planning this for the last few days ( i think so) because instand decision can not take this forward.
      4. this is the dark day for the bangladesh and government should take a very hard decision against them so that no one of the security forces can take this type of decision again.
      may be all those is not relating with u r question but i got anxious for the country bec this will happen again if there is not taken any very very rough decision.

      • Babylon Sikder

        Hai, Brother, u didnt say anything about the miserable life of BDR. Dont u think that they were deprieved from the high officilas? they are the part and parcel for saving this country from the external enemies. I am not in favour of only one group, but I am in favoure of justice. Bangladesh is an independent country, no injustice should be tolerated at any case.

        thank u

        • sujon

          dear
          i am also in favour of justice. i am just shocked bec they raped the females( wifes, daughter, mother,naids). they did not left a single one. if u say they are deprived then just for u r informatin most of the bdr soldiers family live costly life. i knw u will not belive that but i visited about 20 bdr soldiers family and i was little amaged to see their home and living standard.

          if u want to tell about the training. then visit BMA i think u knw wht is that BMA. just see the training u will feel how much pain an officer is taking to become and officer and this hardship is the training for them as well as for the troops of army and bdr.

          dear this planning and execution says that there is another hand to operate this. u think if the same thing happen in army wht will happen? it needs to set an example so that no one can do the same thing in future.

        • R Khan

          As far as i understand, the system in place didn’t allow for them to take high office roles. Indeed neither can the normal soldiers in the Army can ascend to high offices. Its only the trained officers in the Army who take up high possitions. These men and women are highly trained for the purpose and have been filtered from thousands. This way there is assurance that we have the best trained people available in Bangladesh. Its pretty much the same everywhere in the world. At the end of the day its the millitary high commanders who control all the defence organisations in a country. BDR teams are recruited based on their locality and physical attributes, they are not recruited to be future officers. Anyone in Bangladesh, not only Army soldiers or the BDR can become an Army officer – they just have to prove that they have the aptitude and can go pass all the filtering examinations.

        • bangladesh man

          ppl i am not an expert or an investigator … jst curoius.
          there is a group in the world of justice.
          ppl say its justice but its relly a “power behind the throne” and “take over the world” group.
          do u work for tht type of group?

          its called the illuminati

    • Mabs

      Its not the eruption of any silly excuses. Fact is that the BDR soldiers requested the Director General to discuss their long outstanding issues (pay, residence, welfare etc etc) with PM on the Anniversary held on Tuesday. But he didn’t, moreover a soldier died whilst on punishment. On wednesday the regular after anniversary meeting (Darbaar) by the DG started the spark by swearing at officers, soldiers and ordered to punish them. This is when it all started as they were cornered to death. BDR has worked hard since liberation by supporting the Military especially by controlling border with BSF (India). Coups were used before to achieve their demands or interests and it has worked. So its nothing new but last caretaker govt. has given the ultimate authority to military for over two years and they have made huge amount of cash by regulating the food pricing and tackiling govt. organisations. Their welfare structure is comparitively better and more recognised, on top the young ranked officers were buying Pajeros and their wives were shopping for Diamonds and 18 carat ornaments. In today’s expensive living standard a BDR soldier cannot live a simple and dignified life with the hundreds years old pay structure not improved regardless of many democratic governments.

      • sujon

        yes , i agree with u that the bdr they r protecting the borders with their life but i cant agree that the junior officers family r living costly life. if possible give one example. those r told my the bdr troops to gain the sympathy. this is the sme organizationg like army and they need to follow the rules and regulations. they cant ask dg like that in open forum. there are some rules and they did not follow that. and the death of bdr soldier with the punishment this is also wrong. this was the earlier plan of them. i had a talk with some one he said that they cashed the weapon before the day nad tell me wht does that mean? they just made a story to gain the sympathy.
        thanks

      • Brodie

        Look, in my opinion, whatever the reasoning behind it, it cannot justify them taking other peoples lives, nothing does that, let alone something so drastic as this. They should have had a mass amount of people quit or strike, if they all walked off the job, particularly those stationed around the border, the government would have been forced to listen and compromise. They could have done the same thing without the violence and would have gotten postive media attention, if that didn’t work then they should have quit and found new jobs. Bangladesh is full of people living below the poverty level, 80% do, the BDR army aren’t an exceptional case, they are in no different a situation to the rest of the country, its a developing country, there is corruption and poverty filling every single town. I feel that money is the worst possible ‘justification’ behind murder and the least forgivable. It should never be used as a way to condone it. Aside from the fact that under any circumstances, murder is just the worst possible resort to take, the way they carried it out simply worked against them. The government can’t let them go after they did this, it can’t just give them their demands and not take any action when BDR have taken such drastic and harsh actions which have affected not just the army but the whole country. Every single person killed over the past few days had family and friends who loved them and who will be destroyed by their death.

        Even if BDR were totally just in their actions before this and were entirely abused by the army, even if they were whipped and their own were murdered by the Army, it doesn’t condone their actions, it doesn’t condone murder. If they were that unhappy there they would have found new jobs, if there were other jobs they were eligible for with better pay, etc, i’m sure they would have left BDR and taken it up, but i’d wager BDR is the best paying job they can find and they are already earning more than a good portion of the country. I have heard a lot about the army and their masses of money and cars but there are rich and poor people all over the world, there are higher and lower paying jobs around the world, there are old women who work through the night digging holes and doing back breaking labour by the side of street by candlelight and they get paid next to nothing, alot of the time they actually live on the street, or take a rickshaw walla, driving around all day, exhausted, for very little taka, they all get paid less than a million different jobs i could name who work ALOT less, simply because they were given the opportunity of schooling when the others weren’t, or just because they were the people who happened to take those jobs.

        Look, when it comes down to it, the BDR just did alot of senseless killing because even if the government give them their demands, all the BDR who participated in the mutiny, all those who supported to it, all those they can tie to it in any way whatsoever and probably a lot of them who werent involved and beleived it was wrong, will be arrested. The government has to act, ESPECIALLY because of BDRs past coups, if they let BDR off without severe ramifications then they are setting up the country for militia rule, they cant expose that kind of weakness in the government because i think we all know there would be 50 different groups of people rising up and trying to take over the country with force or to get what they want through violent protest.

        Even if they let BDR off for now, later on, the government will destroy every single person involved, they don’t have a choice or they weaken the country in an irreparable way.

        This then brings us back to what BDR will have acheived, which is nothing but bad media for themselves and have given the government and army and excuse to do whatever they want to them and be able to justify it to the public because of BDRs mutiny. BDR have given the government a way to demonize them to the public. They have only worked against themselves in this situation, now they are in a far worse off position than they are before.

        Regardless of either sides position or their reasoning behind their actions, murder is always wrong.

        Look, the point is, this was a bad move for BDR and a very poorly thought out one.

        It doesn’t matter if they felt like they had no other option because this one is cruel, ineffective and should never be taken into effect under any circumstances. It is sensless killing.

        Oh the news just came on, yep, this is what has been acheived:

        Over 300 BDR personell have been arrested and over 100 people are dead.

        Was that really worth it? The only outcomes here for all or negative.

        BDR really seem to have worked against themselves here.

    • Anam

      If you want to trail the dalal (Rajaker) of 1971 then you have to face a lot problem, now this Govt. faces. The activist are still in action. Ex D.G RAB’s body burn into ashes. The killed our Leader in 1975, then Jail shootout, Zia dead……… lot of thing happend in past. In future when we trying to move forward at that time strike. The activist want to use the land for their own. when failed they strike….. I am afraid in future what will be the next scene?

    • dee

      It will be difficult to dissect fact from fiction in this woeful saga of the BDR. Their name has been tainted forever and that is why the govt. is now going to change their name, and listen to them. It was a shame that no govt. bothered to listen to their grievances until it was too late. Army Officers live lavish lifestyles that cannot be ignored. The whole of the populace knows this, and most people who have travelled there. I even saw what looked like contemporary flats in their compounds, which I found shocking. Consider how this looked to ordinary folk, many of whom live in tin huts. I think most people will hold their lifestyles with contempt. I found that the Army treat ordinary folk with contempt for e.g. if you travel past their compound on a main Road they could come and stop you and ask all sorts of questions, even detain you. Now if they are like that with ordinary folk, imagine the contempt they will have for those of a lower status than themselves i.e. the BDR. I am no apologist for the BDR, I’d never even heard of them until the mutiny. But I fully understand their grievances. I think the governments give so much to the Army in order for them to be protected and so that they will come out to save the government whenever the Police can’t handle street grievances, and don’t get me started on the Police and their para-militaries, the RAB! But finally, I feel for the people killed. It should have aired differently but you have to see what spawned the monster.

  • sdscribe

    Is there a battle at Pilkhana or is there a siege of Pilkhana? From what I can make out the BSR men are inside the BDS hqs and the army and the RAB are outside in rings of cordons. Is that correct. And air force helecopters are flying recces. Are they also firing? Are BDR men at the borders joining in, coming into major cantonments inlands such as in Khulna. Soldiers of the Indian Border Secuirity Force in the BOPs (border outposts) who are trying to raise their BDR counterparts over telephone links have reported that there are no responses to telephone calls from the other side

    • Sdscibe sir,
      it was a siege at pilkhana as the army didnt fire at BDR, the BDR fired at the army and the helicopter.

      the helicopter didnt fire at the BDR. they were there to drop some liflets ordering them to surrender. the news channels also confirmed this.

  • sujon

    there should be drustice action to handle the situation. today the mutiny in the BDR and seeing this it will be there in army, police, rab. so there should be some action so that no one can take such type of decision again to make the internal situation and security in problem.

  • Shaquib Quoreshi

    One thing is bugging me…who fought whom during 9 plus hours? If iy was a matter of taking the officers hostage, it does not make sense to continue firing shotsm unless, of course, BDR jawans were fighting among themselves.

    Can anyone shed light on this please? Was there in-fighting among BDR jawans, i.e., for and against the so-called mutiny?

    • sujon

      they r not fighting each other. they just firing to create the panic

  • vasudev akundi

    the ire of the BDR is understandable. on one hand the army officers and their spouses are living extravagant lifestyles, while the poor, overworked BDR cadets only get punishments and a very meagre pay. This was just waiting to happen. however one should appreciate the response of the government in providing amnesty to all those involved and agreeing to their just demands.

    • sujon

      i think u should get more knowledge on this and then comment. how much u knw about bdr troops? do u knw their earning in one month? i think u dont knw. pl get some more knowledge

    • Brodie

      wow, thats just ridiculous, you just said the cadets get paid less than officers…

      so you mean the higher ranking officials earn more than the lower ranking cadets?

      travesty!

      Certainly justifies mass murder.

  • Hellraiser

    Based on the statements provided by few, I can assume one group is probably pro army and one is pro BDR. I won’t be surprised if they are actively working with these forces either. Being a civilian, this is what I think

    Yes, the BDR Jawans are severely oppressed by the Army. All the high ranks in BDR are hold by Army personnel’s as that’s how it was designed. These Army officers made their fortune at the expense of BDR lives.

    Being oppressed for a long time, shedding their life for their motherland pushed the BDR Jawans back on the wall making their revolt against their commanding officer. But I do not see any justification for killing their family. That’s where I think they crossed the line.

    As in the dialog of the movie Spiderman “greater power comes with greater responsibility”, we have to understand the moment someone takes the oath and carry a weapon on his hand which can take lives, it comes with greater responsibility.

    Instead of us spreading rumors (not sure if they are) like BDRs raping the female family member of Army officers or Army officers killing BDRs with punishment, we should take a step back and think differently.

    My take on this, government should declare a general pardon and let all Army and BDR’s go back to their barrack. Make an independent committee who will make a full investigation on not only this incident, but also what triggered this. Identify guilty, whether they are from Army, BDR or even Civilian and usurp severe punishment on those. This severity should be so high so next time someone else like the Police, Ansar, VDP, Army, RAB or anyone who is allowed to carry weapon thinks 20 times before take such measurement.

    What we are probably not seeing is the future; what example is this setting up.

    I wish I could write even more, more of my thoughts but don’t have that much time and may end up offending others. To me, every life is equally important and no one is higher than the other in terms or life.

    Sorry if my statement goes against anyone’s feeling as this certainly is not my intention.

    I hope and swift, bloodless end of this. After all, I am a Bangladeshi, love Bangladesh and my fellow Bangladeshi’s.

    • Brodie

      Most intelligent opinion in this thread.
      Murder is never justfied and you’re certainly right with the spiderman comment. Their actions went against everything BDR stands for. BDR are supposed to be the people fighting for the government, not against it and in doing what they did they have negated justification of any demands they have made. The government may have owed them better pay, living situation etc. pre-mutiny but they have proven themselves to be undeserving of even holding their jobs i BDR, let alone receiving better conditions. The mutineers should never have held the positions they did to begin with if they are capable of participating in a mutiny. This whole thing is very hypocritical. Demanding higher pay and situations whilst taking actions that directly oppose everything that BDR stand for, contradicting their very employment with BDR.
      Not to mention the fact that from the very start, there was so obviously no way this could end well for BDR. It would either lead to civil war or the jailing/death of BDR mutineers, which of course it ultimately has, 300+ BDR members were arrested this morning.

      The Government don’t have a choice here, they must act or allow complete chaos and coups or rise up throughout the country.

      There is no justification for the actions BDR took.
      It was murder. It was wrong, regardless of what conditions lead them to take those actions.

    • hello all,
      I think all those actions were not solely done by BDR, someone is behind it, who wants to weaken the BD army. Think about who will be more benefitted, if BD’s army and security get weaken; who were the people got caught by army and RAB by last two years?; who wants revenge after two years punishment and humiliation? so we should think broader that whom we choose as our leader? we as BD people are most unfortunate that we never can see the truth and listen what the media says and what some corrupted leader wants us to believe. Hail to BD ignorant and hipocratic people.

    • Saki

      In army rule, if anyone stand beside mutineer and dont stop him, both will be treat as same.

  • Gemini

    How do you know women were raped?

  • Gemini1322

    Does anyone know what exactly is the root cause of this mutiny? We all know about BDR being oppressed by the Army for so long and all that but WHAT EXACTLY caused them to snap so suddenly and with such force? Has the BDR tried to do anything prior such as have talks with the Army and perhaps get the leaders of the nation involve in order to work something out or something?

    • sujon

      dear brother,
      Do u really know that the bdr were oppressed by the army officers? Do u knw the real story inside of a bdr unit? i think u do not know otherwise u could not tell that word oppressed.
      just try to find the answer of few questions–

      1. As i knw and every where it is told that there were a ceremony called darbar and there no one is allowed to carry weapon. so where the soldier got that rifle?
      2. Just after the incident they were using red cloth in their mouth. Where they got those red cloth so early?
      3. They demand 50 issues to solve. Do u think a bdr soldier wrote all the issues at their own?
      4. How many brd soldier died?
      5. All the officers(138) were corrupted?
      6. Where is the fault of the officers family and their kids?
      7. Who all were the people giving slogan outside of the camp?
      8. Who worked during didor, voter registration, election, during flood.
      9. The dal vat project were continued by the BRD own or with the ordre of home ministry or food ministry?

      i have many questions but i am feeling shy by thinking the mind of the people. u r enjoying to see the dead body of army officers. but did u ever think all were not corrupted and only for this they can be killed.

      most of u said they(bdr) were suppressed by the army ? but do u knw the inner story? the relation between the bdr soldier and the army officer? i think u do not knw that?

      pl try to find out the answer of all those questions and i think u may get the the real scenerion provided u think in nutral mind

      • Hellraiser

        Brother Sujon,

        Not sure whether you are an army personnel or you have close ties with them, but you surely raised some reasonable points along with some one-sided ones.
        First of all you are asking questions for which you will never have the answer unless you were present there. And I am sure you weren’t there either, so your assumptions could be just as baseless as many others.

        To voice my opinion (my answer) to your question # 3: Did you plan for years to come up with these 9 questions you posted here?? I don’t think so, it probably came based on the conversation posted by others and instinctively. The same way, may be BDR jawans came with 50 demands which was in their mind for years right on that place. I won’t try to come up with a conspiracy theory based on that (though that’s what I like to do). Just from my experience, when I write, I write based on my thoughts at that moment and you can figure that out from tons of my spelling mistakes, silly grammatical mistakes and even jumping from one topic to another (sorry as this is not my native language).

        Below are my thoughts on the others:

        1. It is clear by now that after some incident some disgruntled BDR jawans went to took weapons out of the depot. Does that answer to your questions? Also, getting a gun wouldn’t be that big of a problem for a BDR jawan, would it?

        2. Well, the video and pictures we saw, not everyone was wearing red bandana. Though it’s not something difficult to get, but your statement is distantly correct.

        3. Already answered to that one

        4. Not many BDR soldier died as they were the aggressors. The Army officers were caught off-guard and certainly the casualty will be less on the BDR side.

        5. Of course all officers weren’t corrupted, but don’t tell me you live an utopia and none of them were. Some of them were mightily corrupted. Also, their corruption wasn’t the reason for the mutiny, rather the socio-economic disparity between Army and BDR.

        6. There should not be any reason for BDR jawans to go after the family. That is something that undermines everything BDR stands for. That was cruel, insensitive, barbaric and immoral.

        7. Not sure who were the people outside the camp, but Bangladeshi’s by nature are inquisitive (:-)) and likes to take a side. You dig a hole, people will stop to see what’s happening. You beat up a guy saying ‘hijacker’, others will join you in the beating without even thinking twice.

        8. No one is looking down at what Army did for our country. They do and did their job well in the past and even now. But that’s part of their job, isn’t it? At the same time, don’t tell me there is no corruption in Army.

        9. You pretty much negated your question # 8 with #9. As per you, if the credit for daal-vaat project goes to home and food ministry, of course all credit for Operation Sidor, Voter Registration, Election will go to some other administration. Why hesitate to give credit when needed?

        It’s not that I am trying to make you prove wrong, but what I am trying to tell you is to have an open mind. Look at both side and ask questions. You seem to be for justice for only for one side. Take a look at the other side before you make up your mind.

        Not sure why would you feel shy to raise questions as long as they are genuine? I really do NOT think anyone ever said that all Army officers are corrupted and anyone enjoyed the dead body of an Army officer or BDR jawan. That is a distorted thought your mind came up with.
        So let’s hear the inner story from you? If you have such evidence and proof, may be people will hear and believe your story? You may think that everyone is wrong you are correct and you could be, but did it ever cross your mind that others could be true, at least partially? I don’t think so. So please let us know your thoughts so we can enlighten ourselves.

        Have a great day and I wish peace in your life. I wish peace for each dead soul and their loved ones. I wish quick recovery for each wounded person. Whether they are in Army, BDR, Police or even civilian. Because end of the day, they are my brothers/sisters.

        • Saki

          To all of u my friend. U like it or not the minimum punishmemt for BDR they will loose the job.

    • think tank

      do you know army officer is never interested to serve in BDR. How can you that army officers come to make fortune in a corrupted organization like BDR. Did you serve with BDR and know their attitude to nation. They have only objective in life. they want to earn money in any way. they play the main role in smuggling including drug and illegal arms. there are only three army officers among 800 currupted BDR men.

  • Hellraiser

    This is another thing I can’t ignore. I think this is a public website and people can voice their opinion. but I noticed certain people are acting the way Army in any third world country thinks “I am right, and everyone else knows nothing”. I believe this is the kind of attitude that created many fiascos. This is not the first BDR revolted, not the first time some one else went after the Army. There are many fundamental mistakes in Army, which they may or may not admit, and that’s why they were kicked out by public during the time or Ershad. There is no doubt that just like many honorable Army officer a good number of them are the most corrupted group of people in Bangladesh.

    I am against the path BDR took, but Army is certainly the catalyst here. Their attitude towards the BDR, their insolence, corrupt mentality pushed them to take this route. One thing the armed personnel in third world country always forgets, they are to serve the country and countrymen. They are the servant and act that way. But I guess that’s the most common thing in every third world country, where the server starts getting served. What a shame and pity. My prediction (which could be wrong); the BDR will face the wrath of Army if Shaikh Hasina doesn’t take a bold stance on this. I hope Army takes a lesson from this, stop thinking that they are GOD of the country. I hope every group who carries weapon learns something out of this.

    I wish quick recovery for all the Army, BDR, Police and RAB officers who got injured in this terrible incident, pray for the deceased, and peace for their family members. I hope no one ever goes through what these people went through. I hope BDR jawans gets equal rights, fair treatment, and respect because they are my brothers as well just like the Army, or Navy, or Police.

    • kicko

      hello hellraiser,
      i am really sorry for all this episode. but what i think army officers all over the world are living a luxury life style. and jawans like bdr in other southasian countries are suppressed and brutely treated. it should be changed and i am in accordance to your comments.

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