New Age today published a list of 5o grievances of BDR personnel, accumulated over the years. Here is the list.
1. Recruiting officers for the BDR through BCS examinations for its modernisation, and withdrawing all officers of the army deputed to the BDR which a major demand of BDR soldiers.
2. No steps have been taken, so far, to provide full rationing for the members of this 200-year old paramilitary force. There is neither any ration for its retired soldiers.
3. Members of all forces and agencies, including the Ansars and VDP are being sent to UN peacekeeping missions but no step has been taken, so far, to send BDR personnel overseas. The pledges, made time and again in this regard, remain unfulfilled.
4. Steps have not been expedited to put an end to discrimination in salary structures and promotion procedures.
5. BDR is being run by the Army’s black law. Punitive measures are been taken under the law of 1984.
6. A policy has been formulated to punish and deprive educated and capable persons of promotion.
7. It is only the BDR which is regularly facing war-like situation on the borders but the Army is enjoying the defence allowance sitting back in the barracks.
8. The Army officers have sent many BDR soldiers home showing different excuses during the Operation Dal-Bhat. In fact, Army officers were responsible for the faults.
9. The Army officers also have distributed among themselves the DA meant for the BDR soldiers.
10. All the forces and agencies, except the BDR, had received allowances for duty during the parliamentary and upazila elections. There is a tug of war between the officers for share of the money.
11. In the name of BDR welfare, retired army officers are running 18 shops in different parts of the capital. These shops do not have any BDR personnel.
12. The vehicles bought in the name of BDR’s welfare are being used by the Army officers for their private purposes.
13. The schools inside the BDR headquarters have only a few students from the BDR families. Most of the students are children of the Army officers and their relatives. It is unfortunate that being in the BDR we have to send our children to outside schools.
14. Our children are not allowed to take admission to the BDR schools and the excuse is that they lack merit although the schools were built to help our children overcome their deficiency. [When the schools were built, we were told they were meant for our children and for that our predecessors gave their labour.]
15. The wife of the present [BDR] DG was appointed to the post above the principal of the school. A teacher in name only she draws Taka 60,000 as honorarium per month without taking any class.
16. There is a dairy farm inside the BDR and only a few people get its milk and eggs. The milk and eggs, given to the 50 members from the Army, are much more than that given to the 8,000 members of BDR.
17. BDR members do not receive good treatment at the BDR hospital. Only their (army) parents and relatives and people from their villages receive treatment. The BDR members are supplied with cheaper medicines while army officers receive expensive drugs.
18. The BDR Durbar Hall has been leased out to the wife of the present DG for an amount which is one-twentieth of its annual income. All the lakes/ponds of the Pilkhana and other property, including ‘Pushpita Simanta’, worth crores of taka were leased out in her name or fictitious names for 99 years.
19. The cooks and sweepers of BDR are working at their [army officers] homes and residences of their relations. The BDR troopers have to clean all the streets of Pilkhana before dawn. They work at their [army officers] homes. Even the naik havildars are doing it regularly. The cooks are taken to prepare foods at functions at their relations’ homes.
20. The soldiers generally receive lesser amount of ration. But the savings from the allocations for different messes are taken to the homes of army officers and their relations.
21. The soldiers have to care for all the trees of the unit. But the fruits of the trees are sent to their [army officers] homes.
22. No vehicles are purchased for the BDR troopers now. But expensive vehicles like Pajeros are bought, which are mostly used them [army officers] and their relations.
23. The army officers living in Pilkhana must have quarters. But the BDR soldiers or officers are residing out of Pilkhana. After the beginning of the construction of a residential quarter for the soldiers near the farm, a plan was taken for a quarter for army officers. Although they are living in their quarter, not a single floor has been completed in the soldiers’ quarters.
24. The soldiers are subjected to harassment over their leave. They are sent to the borders but have to take leave after coming back to the battalion, which is totally inhuman. BDR soldiers have to work on the borders but their families cannot live there. They are not even granted two months’ leave. We cannot enjoy recreation leave although employees in all organisations enjoy it [In 2001 Deshnetri Sheikh Hasina announced two months’ leave for BDR personnel after considering their problems. But the army officers stopped it through machinations].
25. They [army officers] come to this organisation with a small trunk but leave with 2/3 trunks.
26. They carry out all the contractors’ jobs with their own people.
27. Poor quality food is supplied to the BDR. If we protest, they threaten us with termination of our jobs.
28. The posts designated for officers of BDR are not given properly. Although a few are made officers, they are not given ration/housing and other facilities. They are subjected to harassment.
29. In all services and organisations special emphasis is given on education but in this organisation there no such system. Rather those who are a bit more educated, efforts are made to throw them out of it.
30. If statistics of dismissals from different services and other organisations since the independence of the country are taken, it would be evident that dismissals from services without reason are rare in other organisations.
31. More than 400 officers from the army deputed to the BDR consider its 46,000 members their slaves. An officer needs four to five people for cooking his food. Two [BDR men] are needed for work at the residences of their [Army officers] relations. They are treated like African slaves.
32. In the case of problems on the borders, the Indian border guards generally have a meeting with an army officer in command [of the BDR troops.] It often turns out that the officer either leaves for a UN mission or is transferred elsewhere. This results in further complication of the problem.
33. The army covertly makes sure that the BDR does not progress in sports (for example, when the army achieves successes in sports it gets good coverage but the BDR wins go almost unnoticed).
34. The BDR athletes and sportsmen are kept heavily involved in administrative and other activities so that they cannot perform well.
35. It is also made sure that the morales of BDR sportsmen and athletes are low. They are given minor awards for their achievements but at those occasions the arrangement for army officers makes it seem as if the prime minister is due to attend.
36. The director general of the BDR has smuggled Tk 30 crore to his mother-in-law’s account in the United States.
37. 22 army officers have embezzled Tk 2 crore of Operation Dal-Bhat through bank signatures of BDR personnel.
38. Twenty-two army officers have also embezzled Tk 60 crore from the profits of Operation Dal-Bhat.
39. A relative of the DG went missing with Tk 50 crore of Nur Mohammad Rifles Public School, but the matter was never investigated. [Former] director general Rezaqul Haider Chowdhury took away Tk 40 crore and that incident was not investigated either.
40. It was only because of the greed of some army officers that rice worth Tk 18 per kilogram was sold at Tk 40 per kg, and cooking oil worth Tk 56 was sold at Tk 120 per kg through syndication at the cost of the people’s sufferings.
41. Army officers receive 30 per cent extra allowance for being deputed to the BDR, which is sheer wastage of national resources.
42. They do not want to do anything worthwhile for the BDR for it does not bring them [army officers] any benefits. Instead, they are concerned with the army’s interests.
43. They use BDR carpenters and tailors for their personal requirements. They not only use BDR’s trees for furnishing their homes but even distribute the timber among their neighbours.
44. Runners/drivers are kept busy even beyond the official duty hours. This results in high consumption of fuel (if it is needed to go a distance of 40 kilometres to buy a button, the army officers make them do that).
45. Although there are a number of human rights organisations in the country, no one talks about our rights which are being violated all the time. (The army officers are careful not to give any hint of it).
46. Those who are a little intelligent in the BDR, are sent to the mental ward on the BDR hospital’s third floor, which is used like a prison. The medical board there disqualifies the BDR men as unfit for service.
47. The officers deputed to the BDR are mostly of low calibre with little hope for further promotion. So they run their charges at their whims.
48. We are governed by military rules but our benefits are like those of the ansars/civilians.
49. At combined drills and parades, the BDR contingent outperforms other forces all the time. But to undermine the BDR performance, they are trained by inefficient retired captains.
50. The whole nation knows about the contribution of the BDR in the liberation of this country. But army officers appear to have become desperate to erase the name of this organisation from history.