2009 Bangladesh Rifles mutiny leaves nation open to terrorist threat: Analysts

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Dhaka, July 23 (ANI): More than a year has passed since personnel of the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) staged a violent mutiny at their headquarters in Dhaka, and yet, no one really knows why it happened.

Some analysts now worry that the lack of a satisfactory explanation will threaten the already politically volatile nation, while others warn of further instability in Bangladesh, opening the country up to terrorist threats.

It maybe recalled that BDR soldiers mutilated and killed 57 of their officers, and raped and killed many of the officers' wives on February 25, 2009.

Then most of the mutineers slipped into the city, disappearing without a trace. The attack was the most grievous blow dealt to the Army in Bangladesh's history.

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) says in a report that a full reckoning of that incident has only just begun.

Many of the offending rebels are now well known and their crimes well documented.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh charged 824 of them with murder and conspiracy, the single largest charge in the country's history.

However, it is still not known how many people were actually involved, let alone what their motive was.

Many observers are unconvinced about the government's view that the mutiny was a spontaneous outburst caused by longstanding grievances over pay.

BDR soldiers make about 70 dollars a month, while their officers are accused of living lavish lifestyles.

In drawing-room conversations, blogs, and Facebook postings, many have gravitated to the possibility that terrorist groups are to blame.

The mutiny, they speculate, was an attempt to derail a secular democracy emerging under the leadership of a liberal, female prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, who took office just two months before the mutiny erupted.

It is still a theory - and one that, for now, the government seems to be discounting. But in this land of conspiratorial politics, many informed observers are not willing to completely rule it out.

Since the 1975 assassination of the country's first president Mujibur Rehman, Bangladesh has been a victim of several explosions and assassinations.

The February 2009 mutiny is no different.

Three official investigations - one by the civilian government, one by the Army, and one by the police - have previously reported little about a motive.

"It's a complex scenario. There has to be more serious research on it," says Imtiaz Ahmed, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University and a prominent political analyst here.

He added, with a laugh, "Maybe in 20 or 30 years we'll know." (ANI)

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