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Playing the Fear Card : Diverting Attention from the BDR Massacre Probe?
April 24, 2009, 6:19 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India

Playing the Fear Card : Diverting Attention from the BDR Massacre Probe?


Dr. K. M. A. Malik


The recent (April 12-13) visit to Dhaka by India ’s foreign secretary Mr Shiv Shanker Menon has raised a lot of questions and speculations. He landed in Dhaka without being invited by the foreign office and met with prime minister Sheikh Hasina and army chief Gen. Moeen, few junior ministers and foreign secretary M. Touhid Hossain. Few details of his discussions with the Bangladesh authorities were made public. It was initially suggested in Dhaka media that he had invited some Bangladesh officials to visit the controversial Tipaimukhi Dam project on the Indian side of the Barak river. But nobody believed this cock and bull story. It was also assumed that the discussions had involved bilateral issues such as cross border terrorism and infiltration, road and river transit facilities, use of the Chittagong port facilities for transporting goods to India ’s north east regions, opening up Bangladesh market for Indian exports and investments, etc. But these are also long-standing issues and could not possibly prompt the Indian official’s surprise visit to Dhaka .


In principle, there is nothing wrong in India ’s foreign secretary visiting Bangladesh by arrangement with foreign ministry to discuss issues that affect the interests of both countries. But there are questions regarding the abrupt timing and the undiplomatic manner in which the visit was conducted. Under normal protocol, Mr. Menon should have met with his Bangladesh counterpart Mr. Hossain to discuss any relevant issue and then probably could have visited the ministers as a matter of courtesy. Instead, he first met with prime minister Sheikh Hasina, without anybody else being present, and then with army chief, Gen. Moeen, obviously to discuss some ‘secret’ issues or a hidden agenda. Naturally one may ask the question: Can Bangladesh foreign secretary go to New Delhi and meet with the Indian prime minister and India ’s army chief on a very short notice and bypassing the South Block? What message Mr. Menon conveyed to Gen. Moeen that cannot be made public ? And is it within the normal protocol for a foreign civil bureaucrat to call on the army chief of another sovereign country? Has Bangladesh under the new regime already become another Bhutan or a satellite state of India ?


The true purpose of the Indian official’s emergency visit to Dhaka is shrouded in mystery. An initial report on April 15 (2009) in The Indian Express [1] revealed that “Menon emphasised the need to crack down on elements that aim to destabilise peace and security in the two countries.” Menon was said to be “very satisfied” with the discussion in Dhaka .


The nature of the ‘elements’ to be cracked down was not made explicit, but one can easily understand that he was talking about the ‘Islamic’ terrorists and ULFA and other insurgents in India’s north east. But these issues again are not new; Indian rulers embedded have been raising these issues for more than a decade now, mainly to corner Bangladesh in international arena and to justify their ever-increasing militarism and subversion in Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.


Another story on the purpose of Mr. Menon’s visit, according to a report in The Indian Express on April 18 (2009) [2], was to ‘warn’ Dhaka of a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Hasina. The report again said that there was a plot by ‘terrorists’ to target the new Sheikh Hasina Government, which “prompted India to go ahead and warn the Bangladesh top brass of the threat. Given the sensitivity of the information, Menon himself went to Dhaka to convey the information.” Menon also “exchanged notes with his counterpart on the activities of the radical groups operating in Bangladesh and are suspected to have played a role in the recent BDR massacre.”


The plot to assassinate Sheikh Hasina was given extra coverage in the Ananda Bazar Potrika of Kolkata on the same day (April 18, 2009) [3]. The story, written by Mr. Joyanta Ghosal, dealt with the recent BDR rebellion in Dhaka (February 25-26, 2009) and said that the plot was aimed at killing Sheikh Hasina and destabilising her government by ‘Islamic terrorists’. Mr. Ghosal blamed the outlawed ‘Harkat-Ul-Jihad – Bangladesh (HUJI-B) for two earlier attempts to assassinate Sheikh Hasina.


Mr. Ghosal also engaged in shameless fabrication and propaganda against the BDR forces. He alleged that on April 18, 2001, BDR forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Fazlur Rahman abducted and killed a number of BSF forces (Padua–Roumari border area) which was an act of aggression against India and also had militant (Jongi) links.


This type of propaganda carried by the ‘big brothers’ in India and supported by some of their ‘little brothers’ in Bangladesh is clearly motivated. It is clearly directed against the BDR forces by portraying them as aggressors and main barrier for peace along the border. However, for the sake of truth, it should be noted that on April 18, 2001, a contingent of heavily armed BSF forces forcibly entered into Bangladesh territory in Boraibari (Roumari) and faced a fierce resistance by the local BDR soldiers and Bangladesh villagers. About 18 BSF intruders were killed, all inside Bangladesh territories, which confirmed that it was BSF that was the intruder and aggressor and that BDR only did what was required of them, that is, to defend their country’s lands and people from foreign aggression. It is a shame on the part of Bangladesh governments and the self-styled ‘pro-liberation intellectuals’ that the BDR soldiers and common citizens (some of them gave their lives) who faced the enemy aggression have not been accorded their due honour and recognition. A nation that does not honour its heroes, inevitably end up being ruled by cowards, villains and traitors.


That the Indian official went to Dhaka to have exclusive meetings with the prime minister and the army chief just to warn Dhaka of a possible plot to assassinate Sheikh Hasina does not seem credible either. Even if there were a plot, Indian government could have simply passed on the specific information to Dhaka without the necessity of any controversial visit. In recent years, Bangladesh army together with different security and intelligence agencies have suffered setbacks due to a variety of reasons, but the country is still capable of protecting her prime minister by taking the necessary security measures.


The most likely reason for Mr. Menon’s unscheduled visit was probably connected with the investigations of the BDR massacre on February 25-26. By now, Bangladesh army’s own probe committee must have some definite idea about the real criminals and traitors within the BDR ranks as well as their external masterminds. Whether they will disclose the details (or will be allowed to do so) is another matter. But we want to know. Our people want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The nation would not accept any cover up.


The tragic event has shaken in a very significant way the very fabric of Bangladesh state and its defence forces. The ruling government and their Indian ‘friends’ have been dishing out what seems to be a propaganda ploy by suggesting the involvement of, in their words, ‘anti-liberation forces’, HUJI-B/JMB, opposition Jamat or a section of BNP. Hundreds of BDR forces who took part in the conspiracy and/or the actual mayhem have been taken into custody and being interrogated. But nothing concrete has resulted so far. The investigations that should have taken only one week to finish according to the boastful Home Minister’s original announcement have now dragged on for nearly two months, without any immediate end in sight. The process is very complicated and may take some time, but there is a growing concern regarding the true intentions of the BAL government, since a national tragedy is being manipulated for political purposes.


It is now known that the trial of the BDR personnel involved in the Peelkhana crime would be held under military rules. It is most likely that all those found guilty in the murderous campaign would be given severe punishment including death sentence. But these are the foot soldiers. Many of them would pay a very high price for being involved (willingly or unwillingly) in somebody else’s deadly conspiracy.


But what about those who masterminded the commando-style operation to destroy the country’s defence forces? What about those elements belonging to the ruling BAL party who held conspiratorial meetings before the actual event on February 25? What about those ruling party MPs and leaders who were in contact with the BDR rebels? What about the crores of taka that were distributed within Peelkhana as Mr. Nanak said? What about the various killer groups and their leaders hiding in India during the last 5/6 years (to avoid ‘encounters’ with RAB) but returning home after the present government came to power in January last? Is it not mysterious that Indian Intelligence knows everything that happens or about to happen in Bangladesh while it fails to unearth hundreds of conspiratorial plots within its own boundaries?


What about the possible involvement of foreign commandos capable of planning and executing such a surgical strike against Bangladesh army? Who will gain most if the country and its defence forces collapse? Was the real mastermind ISI, R&AW, MOSSAD, CIA, MI6 or any other foreign agency determined to destroy Bangladesh defence forces? Was it, as alleged by some Indian media outlets, some elements of the Bangladesh Army itself who were supposed to be ‘anti-liberation’ and ousted by the ‘pro-liberation’ Gen. Moeen during the last two years?


We have to wait for few more months to see exactly what the government would do to identify the masterminds behind the Peelkhana conspiracy.


The threat to Sheikh Hasina’s life is not new; she had been targeted for assassination several times before by some ‘Islamic’ terrorist groups. But assassination of political leaders in South Asia (and also in other countries) is not something new and all the conspirators are not Muslim fanatics. The murderers of Sheikh Mujib and Ziaur Rahman were not ‘Islamic’ terrorists but agents of foreign powers. Assassins who took away the lives of M. K. Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajib Gandhi in India were Hindu or Shikh fanatics. The true identities of the assassins of Liakat Ali Khan and Benazir Bhutto are still shrouded in mystery. So, conspiracy for terrorism and assassination is not an exclusive reserve for some ‘Islamic terrorists’ alone, as implied by Indian media and their cohorts in Bangladesh . The culture of terrorism was first introduced in Bengal in early 20th century by the ‘nationalist’ Hindu youths (Anushiloni and similar underground groups). The culture of ‘suicide bombing’ was first introduced in the South Asian region by the Tamil Tigers (Hindu) in Sri Lanka .


The reports on the threat to Sheikh Hasina’s life by ‘Islamic terrorists’ are not ordinary ‘news stories’. These are designed to create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in the minds of Bangladeshi people as a part of ‘information war’ by India ’s rulers. This game of the ‘fear card’ is being played by Indian ‘information warriors’ in collusion with their surrogates and agents in Bangladesh . There are many historic and strategic reasons for this game against Bangladesh but the most important one at the moment is to divert public attention from exposing the real masterminds behind the Peelkhana massacre. The dark hands of R&AW and India’s other special forces (trained by MOSSAD) are widely believed to have planned and executed the commando-style operation at Peelkhana, with the use of some misguided BDR soldiers as front covers and cannon fodders. Whether Mr. Menon came to Dhaka to warn Sheikh Hasina and Gen. Moeen of ‘dire consequences’ in case India ’s involvement in the conspiracy is made public is not known. But such a possibility cannot be ruled out.


Let me conclude this essay with a quote from columnist M. Sahidul Islam, “The broader strategy involving the fate of Bangladesh is being implemented by phases. Now that the spotlight is being carefully shifted from the BDR tragedy to the removal of Khaleda Zia from her legitimately owned house, and to the bogey of Islamic militancy, we once again are scared to the hilt by the ongoing deflections and deceptions.” [4]


( Cardiff April 21, 2009)


Notes and references:






[Dr. K. M. A. Malik is a former Professor of Chemistry, Dhaka University , and a Lecturer in Chemistry, Cardiff University (UK). He has published about 370 research papers in chemistry journals. As a freelance columnist, he also writes regularly on contemporary political and social issues. His published books include: Challenges in Bangladesh Politics – a Londoner’s view (2005); War on Terror – A pretext for new colonisation (2005), and Bangladesher Rajniti – Mookh O Mookhosh (2003). His e-mail contact:]


1 Comment so far
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Interesting post,well in my opinion its early to say about ‘agenda’ of that meeting,for this one has to ‘wait n watch’

Comment by RH302 dumps

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