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Murder charges filed against over 1,000 BDR soldiers


Updated: March 1, 2009, 3:54 PM IST
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Murder charges filed against over 1,000 BDR soldiers
Over 1,000 BDR soldiers were charged with murder on Sunday.

Dhaka: Murder charges were on Sunday filed against over 1,000 personnel of Bangladesh's paramilitary force BDR following the 33-hour mutiny by them during which they killed 73 army officers, even as the government said the revolt was "well-orchestrated" and that a group of "outsiders" was also involved in the carnage.

Besides filing murder charges, orders had been issued throughout the country to look out for those involved in the revolt last Wednesday, a police source said.

As the newly-elected Sheikh Hasina government grapples with the aftermath of the uprising, Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam was quoted by the media as having said a group of people "outside" BDR was also involved in the killings.

"Some evidences have already reached the government," the minister said, adding that it was "well-orchestrated". His remarks came amid reports that a Bangladeshi shipping magnate having close links with Pakistan's intelligence agencies was suspected to be behind the mutiny. But, there was
no official word on this.

Meanwhile, army and Fire Brigade personnel resumed search for some 72 Army officers missing after the revolt which began on Wednesday and ended the next day.

A total of four mass graves containing bullet-riddled bodies of Army officers, including that of BDR chief Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, had been unearthed inside the BDR's headquarters in Pilkhana area in the heart of Dhaka till Saturday, taking the toll in the mutiny to 77 - 73 of them Army officers.

The government has decided to hold speedy trial of the people involved in the killings in a special tribunal by enacting laws, Minister Islam said.

"The Law Ministry was asked to place a draft of the law in the Cabinet for the trial of the killers," he was quoted as saying after a meeting of the Council of Ministers and the ruling Awami League Central Committee leaders last night.

The meeting also decided to compensate each of the families of slain officers with Tk 10,00,000 (approximately Rs 7.4 lakh).

Outraged over the killing of its officers by BDR soldiers over pay rise, the Bangladesh army demanded "maximum" punishment for those involved in the massacre.

"Exemplary punishment of the culprits will cool our resentment. Our demand is that the investigation into the killings should be quickened and maximum punishment should be given to those persons responsible for them," said Brig General Mahmud Hossain, the Director of Military Intelligence.

Bangladesh has a history of political violence, coups and counter-coups since its independence in 1971. The mutiny was the first major challenge to the Hasina government which assumed office less than two months back.

First Published: March 1, 2009, 3:54 PM IST
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