BDR Massacre: Target Bangladesh by M. Z. Abedin, 184 pages, Hard Bound, Published by Eastern Publishers, London, Price Tk 350, US$ 10/-, July 2009: A Review:
The book BDR Massacre: Target Bangladesh by journalist Mohammad Zainal Abedin is all about the massacre of the unprecedented and horrendous in history of the killings of Bangladesh Army senior officers, nearly five dozens, on the 25-26 February 2009 perpetrated in ‘mutiny’ by the worst brutes from among the BDR Jawans (foot soldiers). Possibly this is the first of such book that covered the mayhem in some available detail.
The author has introduced himself as the former student leader and a 1971 freedom fighter of the genre of the present ruling party, Bangladesh Awami League (BAL), but claimed to have left the party for every kind of evils and corruptions he had experienced in the body, then took to teaching and journalism.
He had some other books; the noted one was on the Indian Intelligence Service, R&AW that won him a prize of honor in 2007 of the LISA (London Institute of South Asia). For some time he edited and published a Bengali weekly EKALER KATHA until he left for the USA for residence there along with his family in 2007.
The book under review here consists of four main chapters, a few photographs of the Army officers killed, a foreword and author’s own explanation. The book is dedicated to the memory of the Bangladesh Army officers killed in the BDR Headquarters on the 25-26 February 2009 that rightly gives his feelings about the unfortunate dozens. The foreword by Professor Mahbub Ullah has warned rightly the readers of some ‘pitfalls’ in the work. Even so, he has encouraged all to read it through.
Cunning Big Brother
The title of the book has indicated what the author in the book had in his view in pointing out to the machination of the well-known BIG BROTHER (India) of Bangladesh in the mayhem. He had some circumstantial evidences but not all to substantiate his thesis, possibly because, the cunning CHANAKYAN had been so crafty all along in the past history that many had been outwitted and so are still now. The motive for help of ‘paratroopers’ offer of Delhi to the PM Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh just at the onset of the mayhem on the 25th February curiously has not been explored in necessary detail.
The harsh reality is that Bangladesh has its own geographical vulnerability virtually encircled almost on all sides by the mighty regional power having nearly 4,200 km common border. Being thus advantageously situated, why should India care for any military threat from Bangladesh? Why should the Bangladesh Army be of any worth cognition so far as military engagement is concerned? The Baraibari or Padua fight of early 2000 between the border guards of the two countries, BDR and BSF, could have been nothing of show of military strength or any of major engagement between the two sides. There is no comparison of the armed strength and arsenals of the two sides, much less the existence of any nuclear one that Bangladesh does not have but India has many. All these questions and underlying points would certainly and clearly state that India had no good reason for the mayhem whatsoever against the Bangladesh Army or the BDR.
India Gains Most
There are other issues, as well. India need not invade Bangladesh for she has been having since after 1971 all advantages that she wished to accrue. India dominates Bangladesh in politics, culture and above all in economy. The latest official figure in balance of trade in favor of India runs in nearly 3 billion US$. The unofficial figures, run still higher that occur as regular feature through all sorts of illegal trades like smuggling along the porous borders, land, river and sea waters not only for normal goods but also of illegal sale of items like arms, illegal drugs etc. The vulnerable economy of Bangladesh continues to face threats from much bigger Indian economy since the last four decades now that India continues to accrue benefits from, no matter if the BDR and the Army is more efficient or not. Unfortunately, these points have not been addressed in the book that made it one – sided view of things in drawing his conclusion in somewhat tunnel vision way.
Hasina and Moin
The other amazing point was that the two days killings and massacres went on almost uninterrupted not only in full knowledge of the PM of Bangladesh and her Army Chief but also of their curious inaction and a sort of playing with lives of nearly five dozen senior and brilliant army officers. How come that Mr. Abedin did not throw enough light on this very vital and crucial point? What the writer would say if anyone would doubt his siding with these two persons, in particular, in his putting all blames on India?
Hide and Seek
The hide and seek game the government has, in fact, been playing as were clear from the partial report made public and not the whole of it and still claiming ‘success’ in handling the mayhem should substantiate the point that the writer might have put his effort to isolate the two figures as mentioned here giving all blames on India that can not be beyond skepticism. No sensible person in the know of political dynamics can be oblivious of the fact that Hasina in particular in her heart of heart has a burning desire to punish any army men whenever she would have any scope to do so, particularly after the 15th August victorious army coup of 1975.
Politics for Reprisal
One may recall here, a verbatim quote of Hasina made public by London based Octogenarian BBC Bengali Service journalist Mr. Serajur Rahman, ‘AMI RAJNITI GHRINA KORI KINTU PITRIHOTYAR PROTISHODHER JONYO RAJNITIIE ESHECHI’ (I hate politics but just only to take revenge of my father’s killing I have taken on to politics)’. That she is after the blood of the 15th August 1975 coup heroes is no secret that she wish deeply to finish this time as all evidences are clear to any body keeping track of facts surfacing. Soon after she took the Chair of the PM in 2009 she has already cleaned off the general administration, law enforcing agencies, education, etc from all her ‘undesirable’ lots and replaced with the party men and women. She has then on put her ugly hand on the army, as well. Many brilliant senior officers have already been sacked and removed at her free will for she is the Defense Minister, as well. Should not the skeptics doubt that she enjoyed playing with the valuable lives of the five dozens army officers in the mayhem for her sadist pleasure?
Not Army but Militia
Hasina’s father under direct tutelage of the Indian R&AW raised the Rakkhi Bahini somewhat in fashion of Militia he had in the 6 Point autonomy formula aiming then in independent Bangladesh ultimately to replace and drop altogether the regular Army of Bangladesh. One may not but wonder if she has been going on for similar venture and for that end killing of senior officers and dismissal at random lately of meritorious senior officers of the regular army.
Blind for Vengeance
That Hasina could be stooped to anything at her wish is well documented not only by the High Court of the country that twice warned her few years ago of misdemeanor. Justice Shabuddin after leaving the position of the President of the country in late 2001 had a statement published in the daily Independent on the 5th January 2002 that may speak well about her mentality of vengeance and of a clear psychopathic case. In making response to her calling Shahabuddin a ‘betrayer’ he retorted, “ Did I give any undertaking that the victory of the Awami League would be ensured in the election (2001)’?
Rentu and Hasina
Even though some of the facts about Hasina’s abnormal behavior as mentioned in the Rentu’s autography AMAR FANSHI CHAI may be questioned, but the fact has been proved beyond doubt from many other sources that she is really a psychic case, and so possibly had her sadist pleasure in the BDR massacre.
I would feel that by leaving Hasina off from the actors of the BDR massacre by the author, he lacked in his perceptional dimension that need be corrected.
Supplementary and Complementary
So far as India’s likely involvement in the mayhem was concerned, it was supplementary and complementary to Hasina’s perception of gains and sadist lust for revenge. India has a game plan in Bangladesh that according to Indian retired Bengali General Shankar Roy Chowdhury is part of the GREAT GAME in the region that Hasina is well placed in Dhaka to play very effectively for Delhi, when and how is a different matter. But one may look back and ponder coolly that for what Hasina had been motivated, trained and fully groomed for during her full protection she had been under the powerful Central Indian Intelligence Agency, the R&AW, and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India for long six years during August 1975- May 1981.
May be the writer would in future bring out a revised edition of the book giving attention to the ‘pitfalls’ sooner than latter for the issue he has taken on to address is really a very important one for the safety, security and sovereignty of Bangladesh that his commitment to patriotism, I would suppose, would very much demand.
Review by: Dr.M.T. Hussain