BDR Massacre: A Timeline

March 2, 2009
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We start this post with our sincerest condolences to the friends and families of the fallen. For the record, we are calling this a terrorist act: not a mutiny.

In any war, the first casualty is always the truth, and it is happening in Bangladesh right now. We believe truth and justice are the best ways to show respect to the memories of the dead, so let us go back and try to do that.

We start with a timeline of the incidents. Please note that this is not a blow-by-blow account but the major points. While this timeline can, and is, self-standing, it is also an integral part of our next article, Accountability and Distorted Truths.

Feb 25 09:30 AM – 10:30 AM:

(Lt. Col. Syed Kamruzzaman’s interview, partial screen-shot below).
Mar. Gen. Shakil Ahmed, DDG Brig. Gen. Bari, Col. Anisuzzaman, Col. Emdad, Col. Zahid, Col. Moshiur, Capt. Mazhar and possibly Capt. Tanvir shot and killed. (10:30 is an assumption. The incidents Col. Kamruzzaman described probably ended before 10:30 AM)

Major Monir describes a slightly different timeline, but that the major points are the same, and the differences are understandable in the fog of war.

Feb 25 between 9:30 AM – 12:00 noon

Various civilians injured or killed by gunfire or splinters from mortar as far as Dhaka university.

Army units take position near New Market around 11:20 AM, and attempts to enter gate 3, but retreated after stiff resistance and massive fire from BDR

Feb 25 around 2:30 PM

Bodies of Dhaka Sector commander Col. Syed Mujibul Haque and 36 Rifle Battalion commanding officer Lt. Col. Enayet’s dead body was discovered near the Nababganj drainage canals (the drain runs under Pilkhana). One of the dead bodies had a letter from presumably the BDR soldiers that asked that the message be sent to all media that they have been oppressed by army officers, and their backs were against the wall.

Prior to that, BDR issued ultimatums that if the Army came into Pilkhana, there would be massive bloodshed. They also demanded that the Army helicopters be moved away.

Prothom Alo reported that the some of the BDRs were asked about the status of the DG around 2:30 PM, and they reported that he, as well as another 150 officers were under arrest. We now know that to be untrue.

Feb 25 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Jahangir Nanak and Mirza Azam enter pilkhana after some negotiation via mobile phones and through TV channels. MPs Waserat Hossain and Mahbub Ara Guini statys outside the gate. 14 BDR personnel, including Deputy Assistant Director Touhidul Islam, goes to the PM’s residence for a meeting. (this is the same Touhid Lt. Col. Kamruzzaman said saved his life)

LGED State Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak offering negotiation options to the BDR rebels. Photo - Amdadul Huq, DRIK News

LGED State Minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak offering negotiation options to the BDR rebels. Photo - Amdadul Huq, DRIK News

Feb 25 approx 4:00 PM

A BDR solider announced on a loudspeaker that they will give their life but will not compromise on their demands. This was on Moneshwar Road, about 200 yards from the Darbar hall, where the killings started. Civilians present there clapped and cheered at that statement.

Prothom Alo reported that while all other gates were covered by the Army, this gate had no Army presence.

Feb 25 approx 6:00 PM

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina announces general amnesty. Before this, she met with the 14-member BDR team from 3:45 – 5:45 PM

Feb 25 7:30 PM

As a result of the amnesty announcement, firing stops briefly. Many injured, including women and children come out of the BDR headquarters.

Feb 25 9:00 -11:00 PM

12 BDR members in meeting with negotiators at Ambala Inn in Dhanmondi. They demand that army personnel be withdrawn from Pilkhana as precondition for laying down arms. Army units start moving back by 10:40 PM.

Feb 26 12:10 AM – 6:00 AM

Negotiation meeting ends at 12:10 AM. Sahara Khatun enters Pilkhana at 12:15 AM

Feb 26 2:30 AM

Sahara Khatun exits Pilkhana with at least one injured officer, and about 40 other family members.

After that, we accelerate our narrative:

Feb 26, 9:45 AM

Agriculture miniter Motia Chowdhury and State minister for Law Qumrul Islam meets with 10 rebels again at Ambala Inn.

Feb 26, 11:45 AM

PM meets with the three service chiefs

Feb 26, 1:45 PM

Another team lead by Abdul Jalil meets with the rebels. Rashed Khan Menon asks the rebels to let the family members go, and if necessary keep the politicians as hostage Between 50-60 family members were released after that

Feb 26, 3:20 PM

Afran, daughter of a Major Zia, was released.

Feb 26, 4:20 PM

BTV camera men invited inside to witness and record the surrender of arms.
200 hostages released

Feb 26, 4:30 PM

White flag is raised. 18 injured Army officers were released

Feb 26, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Final stages. Hasina in meeting with the 3 service chiefs.
Surrender and end of mutiny announced at 6 PM

—-

J @ Shada Kalo [http://shadakalo.blogspot.com] writes using a pseudonym and is best known for exposing government, military, corporate foul plays through whistle-blowing investigative reports.

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9 Responses to BDR Massacre: A Timeline

  1. Akash
    March 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Its disheartening to see the bickering, even on the blog, on who did what and what was a mistake, etc. Its totally disingenuous to say that the “amnesty” was wrong, as the oppostion leader is continuing to say. One blog commentator likened it to the battle of Plassey which is not only a misplaced analogy but downright mischievous. Another commented on how Israel sent in its army when two of its soldiers were taken hostage by Palestinians. Another totally misplaced analogy but makes the point nonetheless. Look what happened when the army went in: wanton destruction of lives and property. And the Isareli army went in not just to rescue its members but to punish the people of Gaza. What is becoming clear with Pilkhana is that the full brunt of the massacre took place in the morning of the first day, if there were deaths later they were sporadic. Surviving officers do not describe of killings later. The negotiations may have been prolonged but it saved the lives of the surviving officers and their families, and for that the naturally emotion-charged army should be grateful. Even if the government knew about the first killings and went into negotiation, it does not matter, what matters is they were able to save lives afterwards. Some newspapers have commented that the rebels delayed surrender because they needed time to dispose of the bodies. I think the focus now is to nab the murderers and get to the bottom of who engineered this.

  2. subsequent
    March 3, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Had the army been allowed to move in immediately to stop everything swiftly and sharply…..perhaps the killers couldn’t have escaped!!!!!!!! NOT ESCAPED!!!! the prevention of their escape should have been a primary objectiv…………..its not an easy thing now to track these killers.

    moreover…..it is extremely sad that even when the officerz called their colleagues and family to save them SAVE THEM and were waitin every second they were alive for help….. did not get it. their familyz did not get it. its not as if they were in a remote unknown island that help was afar. help was outside the gate. in that city. imagine the pain and distress they were in in the seconds they were alive that the help they sought were jst around the corner but was not reaching them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. rumpa
    March 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    the point is the government granted amnesty even AFTER knowing that so many army officers had already been killed. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that they had no clue whatsoever!! Indian media reported the incident and said that the DG has been killed…how did they know? and moreover, the media in our country also knew about it, but were suppressed from reporting it. so, saying that the govt. had no idea about the murders is a complete farce!! one of the many burning questions is: Did the killers escape? Or were they ALLOWED to escape?

  4. Saiful Islam
    March 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    The BDR carnage was a systematic preplanned killing of the best collection of army officers who were national assets. Nothing can replace this damage. This has severely affected the morale of all members of the armed forces. Some people believe military action could have been the best option to take control of the situation given the fact the rebels were too afraid to run away if army moved in. However, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh wisely opted for a peaceful solution rather than purely military action, fearing it could mess up the conflict into a full-blown bloodbath within the BDR compound. The decision was very critical, which is now proved to have been handled with remarkable political wisdom and foresight, resolve and equanimity. The army has also shown remarkable good sense, they remained absolutely steadfast to the unified command though there were many agitation and anger under the uncertainly of the situation and external provocation. While the bereaved are struggling to comfort each other from the grief, I find some strong media sympathetically glorifying the demands of the mutineers. I have only two questions to ask: 1. Why the rebels had to kill them all and conduct such carnage well before their demands communicated? 2. When the PM promised to consider all their demands, why they all chose to abscond?

  5. K Hossain
    March 26, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Are we not a responsible for the BDR massacre and similar incidents that have had happened in our country!

    Are we not responsible by supporting and strengthening the Mafia’s rule our country one after another creating all such

    Did we realize how far damage was ot the nation
    by similar incidents!

    Can we be impartial to judge the clues behind this incident guided by good will and reason and force ourself to unite as a nation to punish the culprits in disguise and create a rock solid barrier against all such atrocities!

  6. rumpa
    April 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

    i am still wondering why the PM or ANYONE who met with the **** mutineers (so-called), did not demand to talk with any of the army officers? They should have negotiated like this: once they met the mutineers, and the mutineers told them that the army officers were just held hostage and they were safe, the PM or the other people should have DEMANDED to talk to the army officers the. Should have said” Ok….we’ll meet all your demands, now put us through to the DG. we want to talk to him and ensure that everyone else is ok..” Instead of doing that, they only chit-chatted with the wayward soldiers and granted them general amnesty…Instead of wanting to talk on the phone with the DG or anyone held hostage (?), they took the words of these bloody murderers at face value…how bizarre and suspicious….i wonder if the truth will ever come out…

  7. Mustafa Jamal (Faisal)
    May 21, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I think to change the name and uniform of BDR is not needed…………Its just a show only………

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