Dhaka mulls stringent law to tackle rebellion

Friday, February 25, 2011

DHAKA - Bangladesh is mulling stringent laws to discourage any rebellion among the para-military forces, media reports said Friday on the anniversary of the February 2009 rebellion by the border guard troopers.

Special courts have so far convicted 1,065 troopers from among the thousands who rebelled across the country Feb 25-26, 2009.

The troopers, who rebelled ostensibly to demand better pay packets and working conditions, left the country’s border - 4,300 km with India and 300 km with Myanmar - virtually unguarded.

Their targets were Bangladesh Army officers on deputation to the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which has since been revamped and renamed Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

The revamped BGB has enacted a law that provides death penalty for mutiny.

Of the 74 people who were killed, 57 were army officers, including then BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed.

A total of 57 cases were filed in Dhaka in connection with the mutiny at all but nine BDR units.

Although the law was amended to hand out stringent punishment, including hanging, for rebellion, nobody has been awarded the maximum sentence so far.

Rebel soldiers have been sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms ranging from four months to seven years as on Thursday.

All these convicts were also fined Tk 100 each by special courts set up across the country, the New Age daily said.

The government also filed two cases - one under the penal code against 824 people, including 23 civilians, on charge of murder, arson, robbery and other criminal offences; and the other under the explosives act against 808 on charge of illegally taking up arms.

The para-military Ansar Bahini, which has witnessed several rebellions so far, has already formulated a draft law making the provision of the same retribution.

The highest punishment for mutiny in Ansar is now six months’ imprisonment, the Daily Star said.

The police are also mulling stringent law regarding mutiny in the force. There are laws but not specifically for mutiny.

Police officials said although they have no direct law for mutiny, the punishment for such offences can also be ensured under the civil law.

The government also wants to cover the elite para-military force, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) under the new law.

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