Monday, October 11, 2004

Bangladesh: 8/21- Armed Forces on a belated "offensive"

[Quoting the probe report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), officials of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) told the meeting that there was no similarity between the grenades used in the August 21 attack and those seized in the country's biggest arms haul in Chittagong this year. In defence of detonating the four grenades found on the attack spot, senior explosive experts of army told the meeting that they did it in accordance with the standard operating procedure of the forces. "We are satisfied with the explanation of the army concerning the allegations and the committee resolved that the grenades used in the August 21 attack cannot belong to the army," committee chairman Mahbubur Rahman told reporters after the meeting.]

Aug 21 grenade attack :Chiefs of services demand action for linking army
Shakhawat Liton

Chiefs of three services yesterday asked the government to initiate actions against those who tried to link the armed forces to the August 21 grenade attack.

Chiefs of army, airforce and navy made the appeal at a special parliamentary body meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, terming the remarks of former army chief general (rtd) Mustafizur Rahman 'provocative, heinous and deliberate' against the armed forces, sources said.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Defence found their appeal valid and asked the ministry to initiate steps against the people, specially former army chief Gen (rtd) Mustafiz, who made the remarks.

It launched a broadside against the former army chief for what it said making objectionable remarks against the army in the wake of the August 21 grenade attack. It also accused the former general of divulging state secrets by disclosing the number of grenades possessed by the army.

The parliamentary body also criticised the former army chief for not joining the committee meeting to which he was invited to join to clarify his position about his remarks.

In an article, the former chief of staff alleged that the grenades used in the attack on an opposition rally were similar to those used by the army. He also accused the army of deliberately detonating four grenades found at the attack scene.

General (rtd) Mustafiz did not join the meeting as the committee turned down his demands to include in the discussion why he cannot enter the cantonment despite being a former army chief and why he is obstructed from playing golf there, obtaining treatment at the military hospital and using their banking facilities.

The committee asked the defence ministry to be alert about 'controversies' being created regarding the role of army.

It observed that the remarks are a tantamount to attacks on the armed forces and putting the forces in the dock which 'no rational citizen' can do.

Rejecting the former chief of staff's remarks, senior army officials told the meeting that the grenades used in the August 21 attack were not the same types used by the army.

"After the attack, we checked our stock at every cantonment and did not find any grenade missing," said meeting sources quoting a senior army officer.

The army bought five lakh grenades in 1984, half of which have been used during training, the meeting was told. The grenades used in the attack have specifications painted on them while those used by the army have them embossed.

Quoting the probe report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), officials of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) told the meeting that there was no similarity between the grenades used in the August 21 attack and those seized in the country's biggest arms haul in Chittagong this year.

"The grenades used in the August 21 attack were similar to those hurled in an attack on the Indian parliament," meeting sources said quoting the DGFI chief.

In defence of detonating the four grenades found on the attack spot, senior explosive experts of army told the meeting that they did it in accordance with the standard operating procedure of the forces.

"We are satisfied with the explanation of the army concerning the allegations and the committee resolved that the grenades used in the August 21 attack cannot belong to the army," committee chairman Mahbubur Rahman told reporters after the meeting.

Daily Star 10/10/2004