ISI shadow on BDR mutiny

India's security establishment is anxious about the showdown between Bangladesh Rifles and the Bangladesh army in Dhaka

Hardnews Correspondent Delhi

Although the rebel BDR troops have responded to the amnesty offer of the Bangladesh government and laid down their arms, there is considerable anxiety in India's security establishment about the dangerous implications of this mutiny.

Indian intelligence sources told Hardnews that they see the imprimatur of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) behind this violent showdown between the army and the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR). They believe that the Islamists within the ISI, who have traditional links with the BDR, may have tried to botch growing ties between Prime Minister Hasina Wajid and India. Hasina's call to fight terror could have been the trigger, sources said, behind the BDR's mutiny.

Agency reports suggest that the rebel soldiers of BDR have laid down their arms, thus ending the violence which raged across Bangladesh for nearly 48 hours. According to a government spokesperson, "All hostages have been rescued and the troops have returned to their barracks. Things will return to normalcy soon." Nearly 50 people have reportedly been killed in the ‘mutiny' while 35 senior army officers are missing, claim sources.

The mutiny began when border guards opened fire on the seniors at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka on Wednesday morning. The bone of contention was the difference in pay scales between the army and the BDR troops. Hasina's promise of granting them amnesty and discussing their grievances initially subsided the troops' anger. But, they resumed firing indiscriminately on Thursday. According to reports in the local media, some BDR mutineers also warned that if their demands were not met, they would seize the Secretariat and blow up important institutions around the sprawling BDR complex.

Firing in other camps of BDR had also taken place, further aggravating the issue. The presence of 40,000 personnel stationed at 42 camps of the BDR across Bangladesh led Hasina to appeal to the troops in a televised statement, "Don't kill your own brothers. This suicidal mission has to be stopped. We will find a solution to this problem with patience. Please help me." Tanks were moved into Dhaka to counter the BDR's resistance, after the prime minister of Bangladesh warned that she would do whatever was needed to end the violence.