Who Will Speak for the BDR?

April 15, 2009

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Hana Shams Ahmed highlights legitimate issues that disappeared in the massacre’s aftermath

[FORUM magazine, THE DAILY STAR, April 2009]

“The subaltern uprising story has paled away as threats to the nation’s territorial sovereignty have become clearer”. — Rahnuma Ahmed, New Internationalist (UK), March 17

Six weeks into the bloody carnage at Pilkhana, black banners are still hanging outside the BDR grounds. This is the site where the bodies of 74 people, including 57 military officers, were recovered from mass graves– a political and emotional shock from which the nation is yet to recover.

Two of the most noted army officer victims were director general of BDR Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed and Col Gulzar Uddin Ahmed, the founding director of the intelligence wing of RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) who led the operation to arrest JMB militant leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman.

Public perception first focused on the initial reports on day one about a rebellion centred over pay, rations, corruption, and lack of opportunities. But by day two, public outcry broke out as reports about savage killings started coming out. The “Proletariat Revolution” theory had initially been facilitated by interviews with rebels in orange and red masks, expressing their pent-up resentment over low salaries and alleged corruption in the BDR upper-tier.

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Take back the streets

April 15, 2009
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Photo: Zahedul I Khan

Hana Shams Ahmed

[THE DAILY STAR, 11 April, 2009]

Pull up the hood of your rickshaw,” I heard for the hundredth time. It was a very nice day, with the wind blowing, and the sun making occasional appearances. But the hood of the rickshaw had to be put up. After all, I had to ‘hide’ myself from the numerous gawking eyes that always followed me throughout the journey from Mohammadpur to Elephant Road, where I went to study my A-levels.

Out of sight of my parents, I would always pull down the hood, and unfortunately pairs of eyes of all ages would look me up and down as if I was an exhibit in an art gallery. Then, depending on the vulgarity of the yelled comment, I would have to decide whether to keep the hood down, or give up and put it back up.

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