Angry Bangladeshi army officers shouted down Sheikh Hasina, the country’s prime minister, at a private meeting, and blamed her for the murder of more than 70 of their comrades by mutineering border security guards.
The ferocity of the army’s anger was revealed yesterday when ministers lifted a ban on secret recordings of the clash on YouTube.
Ministers had initially banned the recordings amid fears they might further destabilize the country following the February 25th mutiny.
Sheikh Hasina was praised when she persuaded the leaders of a revolt by security guards of the Bangladesh Rifles to lay down their arms. But she was later fiercely criticized when the scale of the massacre emerged.
The revolt began when security guards forced their way into a meeting of all the regiment’s senior officers at their headquarters in Dhaka and opened fire with automatic rifles. The bodies of more than 70 officers were later discovered in a number of mass graves and sewage tanks.
Sheikh Hasina had refused to send in the army to put down the revolt in its early stages and instead invited the leaders to present their demands. At the meeting, she offered the mutineers a general amnesty and an inquiry into their grievances.
Senior officers, who lost friends and family members in the massacre, said they believed the delay costs dozens of lives.
“You are responsible for all the deaths because you did not allow the army to intervene and we want explanation from you,” demanded one officer. “Had we been allowed to intervene there would not have been so many bloody baths. We could have rescued a lot of officers from the camp.” Another said:”You didn’t call the army and that’s why so many officers were killed.” Several officers repeatedly demanded to know why she had not visited the scene of the carnage. “Why didn’t you go and see? Why did you send the interior minister?” they asked.
Charges have been filed against more than 1000 BDR guards and 36 have been arrested on suspicion of leading the mutiny. Ministers said the mutiny was part of a plot to destablilise Sheikh Hasina’s recently-elected government.
Zia Ahmed, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said the government had lifted the ban on the secret tapes because tensions immediately following the mutiny had now eased.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Audio recordings of the encounter between the army officers and Prime Minister Hasina: