Friday, November 20, 2009

Design to dismantling Bangladesh's para- commando unit?

Nation's defence should be strengthened by M. Shahidul Islam

Governance is all about making the best of choices, some of which could be horrid and unpalatable. And any decision made not guided by facts and circumstances may haunt the decision makers in coming days. As the governance is becoming more clogged and stymied by the day, many feel that some of those who are helping the government to make decisions are actually saboteurs from within. Because of the delay in holding the trial of the BDR massacre of February 25-26, which has again been deferred last week, the armed forces of the nation are apparently being deprived of fundamental rights accorded to them by the nation's Constitution and the other relevant statutes that are designed to treat all citizens as equal.

Meanwhile, according to information revealed by a number of reliable sources, the recent arrest of a serving major from the BDR headquarters, Major Helal, and four captains of army's elite special force-Captain Rajib, Captain Reja, Captain Fuad and Captain Rouf-was an attempt to create a new crisis in the wake of the Mujib killing trial's verdict. On Nov. 18, yet another serving Captain from the RAB was implicated in an unrelated accusation and a warrant was served against him by the court, bypassing military legal procedures.

'Framed operation'
In the course of a week-long investigation into the reasons for which the serving military officers were apprehended, this scribe has gathered valuable information from sources close to the investigation bodies as well to the court of inquiry that the army has constituted under Brig. Gen. Imamul Huda to further dig into the alleged involvement of these officers in the attack on MP Fazle Nur Taposh on October 21. "This is a framed operation with serious political motive," claimed one of the army investigators about the alleged involvement of the arrested officers. Insisting on anonymity, the officer said, "We have learnt for sure that the arrest occurred after three particular politicians influenced the Detective Branch (DB) and the Home Minister to arrest those officers and charge them of being involved in the attack on MP Taposh." The officer added, "DB then obtained through the Home Minister a nod from higher authority and arrangements were made to apprehend those officers while they were on duty."

ISPR's rebuttal
The Holiday also had leant from a source close to the Brig. Gen.-Imamul Huda - led court of inquiry team that the arrested officers had nothing to with the attack on MP Taposh and a series of media exposures, reportedly leaked by DB sources, saying that they were physically present near the spot of the occurrence, is a 'big lie.' Sickened by these concocted media exposures, the military's public relations outlet, the ISPR, felt compelled to issue a second press release on the matter last week, rebutting the report of a vernacular Daily that had painted, quoting DB sources, a dramatic portrayal of how those arrested army officers conducted the alleged attack against MP Taposh on October 21.

Through those press releases, the army in fact told the nation that the allegations were false. Incidentally, the arrest of the serving military officers occurred weeks after the arrest of dozens of suspects hailing from the extended families of the Mujib killing case accused leads one to ask, why those civilians, including a four-month old baby, were arrested if one must believe that the attack on Taposh was organized by the arrested army officers? Or, is there a link between the two groups? Finally, how could so many commando officers, who are experts in explosive-related crafts, failed to detonate a simple improvised device? Needs explanation.

However, the PM as the defence minister needs to tell the young officers of the armed forces as to why so many officers from the elite para- commando unit were specifically scooped out and why now? It is also said that the para-commando unit being the military's 'centre of gravity' in so far as the army's biting agility against its enemy, and therefore those inimical to the existence of a credible Bangladesh Army may want it dismantled by any means.