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BDR rebels to be tried soon by Bangla govt

Written by: Staff

Dhaka, Mar 1: The Bangladesh Government will ask the law ministry to form a special tribunal immediately to try those guilty of criminal acts during the mutiny at the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters.

According to the latest decision, Local Government Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said the government has some evidence which indicates the involvement of people outside the BDR.

"A new probe body will be formed with impartial persons to replace the present inquiry committee, and the new panel will submit a report as soon as possible, the Daily Star quoted him as saying.

"The law ministry would also be asked to submit a report to the Cabinet immediately on the formation of tribunal," he said.

Islam, who is also the spokesman for the ruling party, said the families of those who had embraced martyrdom in the carnage would be given Tk 10 lakh soon.

The government would also extend assistance to those who were injured or affected in other ways, he added.

About the controversy generated over the grant of general amnesty, he said those BDR members who are innocent would come under the purview of the general amnesty, but it would not be applicable for those who were involved in the "killing, looting and torture".

Meanwhile, Military Intelligence (MI) has announced that the body count in the mutiny currently stood at 63, and 72 army officers still remain untraced.

At a press briefing here last night, MI Director Brigadier General Mahmud Hossain also said that 47 dead army officers have been identified.

He said that 31 officers deputed to the paramilitary force had survived the revolt by border guards.

On Saturday, Mar 1 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had announced that the perpetrators of the carnage would not be pardoned under a general amnesty given to others. She said they would be punished as per the law of the land.

Hasina, who handled the BDR mutiny through negotiations with the rebels, revealed that she had asked the Army to be on standby during the negotiations to cool down the rebels and disarm them.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry, in a press statement, issued the order yesterday said the BDR members who are absent from their workplaces without any leave or permission following the mutiny were asked to report to the headquarters or the nearest sector headquarters or police stations by 24 hours.

The statement also said that the lawful actions would be taken against those who fail to report or rejoin their respective workplaces within the time limit. The deadline ends today.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN), the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) have condemned the mutiny and conveyed their supports.

"UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned such brutal acts of violence and extended his deepest sympathies to the victims, their families, the people and the Bangladesh Government," UN resident coordinator's office in Dhaka said in a statement.

A US embassy statement issued on Friday night said that it was ready to assist the government at this "critical time".

It said US Ambassador to Bangladesh, James F Moriarty spoke with the premier and "expressed support for her newly-elected democratic government."

A British High Commission statement said London condemned the "violence" and offered its "full support."

"We offer our full support to the Bangladesh Government as it deals with this crisis," it said.


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