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Bangladesh: Peelkhana Massacre – Assault on Security and Sovereignty

Bangladesh witnessed a bloody mutiny and massacre at Peelkhana BDR Headquarter from 25th to 26th February 2009. This was a tragic day for the whole nation in which it lost 57 Army Officers including several others in the hands of subverted BDR soldiers and allegedly infiltrated foreign agents.

The Nation has shockingly observed that the mutiny lasted for long 2 days and 1 night and ended through the escape of hundreds of mutineers along with arms and ammunition. The Government did not undertake any rescue operation to save the lives of so many Officers and protect the forces Headquarter. Throughout the incidents, the Government was in dark about the killings, burial of the dead bodies,  looting of arms, ammunitions and also committing of crimes against the families.

Instead of countering an armed mutiny by using military means, the government resorted to political measures and sat for dialogue with the mutineers which resulted nothing. The victim Officers were given several hopes by the concerned military authority regarding launching of a rescue operation immediately but they felt betrayed before being killed.

Impact of Pilkhana massacre on the National Security
1.    The Army lost its 57 experienced Officers which is an irreparable loss.
2.    The morale of the Army Officers is bound to be affected deeply.
3.     The identity of BDR Force itself has been dissolved.
4.    The border security has been weakened.
5.     Hundreds of arms and ammunition were looted.
6.    The rebuilding of the border security force will take several years.
7.    Neighbouring country’s border security force will continue to enjoy domination along the border areas.
8.    All valuable records preserved at the BDR HQ have been destroyed.
9.    It has created rooms for employment on the basis of political affiliation.
10. It demonstrated country’s lacking in intelligence.
11.  Failure in undertaking any rescue operation has demonstrated lack of firmness in decision making and poor combat efficiency.

Unanswered Questions
Based on the investigation and trial process, following questions remained unanswered:
1.    Planners behind this staged mutiny remain still unidentified.
2.    Why rescue operation was not undertaken in spite of repeated assurance given to the Officers.
3.    How could so many killers were allowed to escape from the crime scene along with arms ?
4.    Why more than 50 accused have died under custody and what vital information they possessed?
5.    Why the investigation report made by the Army Team – led by General Jahangir was kept aside?
6.    Why the investigation report made by a team headed by Secretary Anisuzzaman was kept aside?
7.    Why a retired CID investigator was given the responsibility to investigate such a serious national security affair involving so many Army Officers ?
8.    Why were the killers allowed so long reaction time to complete their mission?
9.    Why the government was in dark about what was happening inside the Peelkhana Complex though Indian television could announce that BDR DG along with 5 Officers were killed by a mutiny?

Our Demands
1.    Declare 25th February as a National Mourning Day.
2.    Reinvestigation by a joint team of the Army and the Judiciary experts and identify the conspirators.

Major (Retd) Faruk Ahmed
Convenor, Bangladesh Democracy Forum (BDF)

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