Dhaka: The intelligence wing of BDR was tipped off about a possible mutiny by its border guards but instead of taking measures to checkmate it they instigated the bloody rebellion that led to the killing of 57 Army officers last year, a top official has said.
"Most of the intelligence wing soldiers were tipped off against a possible mutiny, but instead of performing their tasks they instigated and led the rebellion and killed the officers," Rifles Security Unit (RSU) chief Lieutenant Colonel Atiquazzaman told newsmen yesterday.
He said the members of his unit distributed provocative leaflets among the mutineers and also played leading role in dumping bodies of the slain Army officers.
They also concealed the evidence after the killings putting leaves and other materials on the mass graves so that no-one could detect those easily.
Atiquzzaman`s comments came as the as the trial of 113 suspected RSU members began yesterday under a special paramilitary court led by BDR chief Major General Mainul Islam under the BDR Act at the Pilkhana`s Darbar Hall, the main scene of the massacre where the 57 Army officers serving the border force were killed.
The charges against the suspects, however, were brought earlier yesterday by a senior soldier of the unit in line with the BDR Act while the three-member court ordered their appearance during its next hearing later tomorrow for indictment on mutiny charges.
BDR officials said most of the 113 suspects were now in jail to face the charges while few of them were still serving in the unit under strict security vigil.
Atiquzzaman, who appeared as the chief prosecutor for the trial of the RSU soldiers, compared the betrayal of his unit with that of Mir Jafar and Mir Madan against Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah and said the unit was "largely responsible for current consequences of the 214-year old frontier force".
The court asked the RSU commanding officer to rectify his unit so that "none can betray in future" as he prosecutor told the court how the mutineers took up arms breaking into the arsenals as the slain BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed was on his way to the Darbar Hall to and an annual Darbar or meeting with the ordinary soldiers coinciding with the BDR Week celebration.
Witnesses said a pale gloom descended on the courtroom as Atiquazzaman described how his predecessor in RSU Lieutenant Colonel Inshad Ibne Amin and two other RSU majors were brutally killed by their own men. Atizzaman said some mutineers tied Major Shahnewaj to a tree at the Pilkhana complex severely tortured him while "he repeatedly begged for life" in vain.
Investigators earlier said that initially 40 to 50 BDR men started the mutiny while most of the paramilitary soldiers took up weapons "voluntarily or reluctantly" and carried out the killings, destructions and lootings.
The trial of the RSU soldiers began as trial of ordinary mutineers who did not take part in killings or lootings during the rebellion were underway in special paramilitary courts under relatively lenient BDR Act suggesting the highest seven year of imprisonment.
Some 200 border guards so far were jailed for various terms under the BDR Act while BDR officials said under the paramilitary force`s law, over 1500 soldiers were faced with trial in Dhaka and different frontier districts and more others were likely to be charged to be tried in phases in six paramilitary courts.
The massacre culprits, however, now await their trial in jail under the Speedy Trial Tribunal under civil Penal Code that prescribes the capital punishment for the convicts and completion of the trial in 135 days.
A Dhaka court last month set a deadline of May 19 for submission of the crucial investigation report on the deadly rebellion as s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police was charged with the task of carrying out the massacre probe.
CID officials said the prepared an initial list of some 900 BDR soldiers out of around 2,100 detained border guards to be charged for their alleged involvement in killings and lootings keeping the family members of the army officers hostage at their Pilkhana headquarters.
They said 533 of the suspects had also given confessional statements before magistrates. The report of a high-powered government investigation committee earlier said the demands or grievances of the BDR soldiers, which were initially thought to have sparked the mutiny at the onset of the rebellion as claimed the masked soldiers before the media, were found to be unacceptable to the committee as reasons for staging the rebellion.
A government committee report said a certain quarter staged the mutiny using a sense of deprivation of the ordinary BDR soldiers but only a few BDR men knew about killing plot.
The report, however, bluntly admitted "without hesitation that the real causes and objectives of the gruesome incident could not be ascertained clearly and it requires further investigations”.