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Probe coups between 1975 & 1981: B`desh war veterans

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 22:42

Dhaka: Several former army generals and
survivors of a series of military coups in Bangladesh between
1975 and 1981 today demanded constitution of a `truth
commission` to investigate into the putsches and mass

"I can tell you with responsibility, these incidents
(coups and killings in army) were staged under a plot to turn
Bangladesh army into Pakistani military, killing the (1971)
Liberation War veterans," former army chief Harunur Rashid
told at the launching of the 10-hour long documentary
`Bloodbath in the Military Bangladesh (1975-1981)`.

He proposed formation of a `truth commission` to let
the people know about the dark chapters inside the army and
de-stigmatise the military as Anwar Kabir, a journalist
released his film at the Liberation War Museum premises here.

An unnumbered army officers and soldiers believed to
be several thousand in number were killed in controversial
court marshals as Bangladesh witnesses a series of coups and
counter coups since the assassination of the country`s
founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with
most of his family members on August 15, 1975.

"These all were extra judicial killings in the name
of so-called trial," Dhaka University Vice Chancellor
Professor Arefin Siddiqui told as the chief guest in the
function, joined by a number of former military officers, coup
survivors and members of victim families and politicians
including JSD chief Hasanul Haque Inu MP.

He said despite the passage of several years, the
people were largely still in dark while many of the victims`
families were yet to know how and why their close relatives
were killed.

Kabir, who have been carrying out an extensive
research on the "massacres in army" and authored several books
on the coups, completed the documentary containing 70
interviews of ex-military officers including military judges
and army officials familiar with the coup investigations,
survivors, victims family members, analysts and many rare
video footages.

"I completed the documentary making process two years
ago, but could not release it for want of a favourable
situation while chose to launch it today coinciding with the
death anniversary of 1971 veteran Colonel Taher, the first
military officer to walk towards the gallows in 1976 following
a military court trial, widely believed to be a farcical one,"
Kabir said.

This was also the first incident of hanging in
independent Bangladesh. Several survivors said it took the
so-called trials in most cases took only a minute to hand down
death sentences to soldiers and officers on the dock by
military judges while several officers who acted as
investigators and defence lawyers said many people were
hanged, though no evidence were found against them.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 22:42
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