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Dhaka rebels reveal plot to provoke Army,topple Govt

With the committee headed by Bangladesh Home Minister starting a probe into the gruesome revolt by Bangladesh Rifles,informed assumptions of a conspiracy behind the mutiny...

Written by Pranab Dhal Samanta | New Delhi |
March 1, 2009 2:01:05 am

With the committee headed by Bangladesh Home Minister starting a probe into the gruesome revolt by Bangladesh Rifles,informed assumptions of a conspiracy behind the mutiny have begun to get credence with interrogation reports suggesting the hand of Sheikh Hasina’s political opponents.

It’s learnt that several BDR personnel,who surrendered after killing nearly 100 Bangladesh Army officers and personnel,have been interrogated and revelations are said to be quite alarming. The interrogation reports,which include one Subedar Major Zafar,point the finger of suspicion to BNP MP and known businessman Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury,who has several cases of graft against him.

According to information coming from Dhaka to New Delhi,some BDR personnel have confirmed that a sum of 1 crore Takas was provided as initial amount after a meeting three days before the mutiny. The idea,sources said,was to fuel latent anger among BDR personnel with the hope that a killing of this sort would indeed provoke a strong Army reaction.

Any such response from the Bangladesh Army would have had serious consequences. The interrogation is said to have revealed that separate plots had been hatched to assassinate Bangladesh Army Chief Gen Moeen U Khan. Already,similar plots against Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have been uncovered in the past few weeks.

The Bangladesh Army has cooperated with the Hasina government and has so far shown restraint despite seething anger among its officers and troops. Gen. Khan too has been able to demonstrate control over his forces despite fissures and camps in his Army. Former Bangladesh PM and BNP leader Khaleda Zia too has supported the inquiry launched by the government but has criticized it for wasting time in negotiations. But the political fallout of the inquiry is likely to be murkier.

Chowdhury is no stranger to Indian security agencies. His proximity to Khaleda Zia was always a cause of worry for New Delhi. She appointed him as Parliamentary advisor while in power and he continues to be a leading BNP voice in the Bangladesh Parliament.

He runs a transport business but came under cloud when Bangladeshi police accidentally nabbed a huge arms cache in 2004 being transported on a dozen trucks allegedly belonging to him. The leads from this seizure led to the famous arms haul in Chittagong from where these trucks were loaded.

These trucks were headed to Maulvi Bazar,purportedly meant for N-E insurgent groups like the ULFA and the NSCN (I-M).

He was also arrested in the anti-corruption drive that was launched by the interim government but managed to get bail last September. While in prison,he is said to have been in touch with Pakistan military officers in a bid to get some help for his release. Indian agencies have in the past obtained evidence of his conversations with the Pakistan military establishment,particularly the ISI.

In the wake of this emergency in Bangladesh,sources said,high-level political contacts have been maintained between New Delhi and Dhaka though the former has made it clear that this is Bangladesh’s internal matter. Clearly,sources said,initial reports confirm the suspicion that the BDR revolt was a planned attempt to create a crisis in Dhaka and turn it into an unmanageable situation. Broad comparisons are also being drawn to what happened in the 1970s leading to killing of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman and his family.

Two more mass graves,bdr commander’s wife’s body found

• Bangladesh’s toll touches 77,could cross 100,unknown number of people still missing

• More than 50 bodies recovered on Friday,many from a mass grave,others from sewers and canals

• BDR commander Major-General Shakil Ahmed among the dead

• Two more mass graves found in the BDR compound on Saturday,another 10 bodies found,including that of Ahmed’s wife

• More than 200 fugitive BDR soldiers detained

• Brigadier-General Moinul Hossain named new BDR chief

• Bangladesh observes day of mourning on Saturday

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