A high-level government committee constituted to investigate the bloody February mutiny in the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) has suggested further probe into possible "external links", fearing that the carnage was part of a bigger plot to destabilise the country.
Several major newspapers in the country, quoting unnamed members of the 12-member committee, half of them belonging to armed forces, today suggested that the February 25-26 rebellion was part of a plot to destabilise the country, though a sense of deprivation among BDR soldiers considered to have mainly led to the mutiny.
"But the conspiracy could not succeed as no military assault was carried out to quell the rebellion," the Prothom Alo newspaper quoted a committee member as saying preferring anonymity.
Several other media reports supplemented the comment quoting unnamed officials familiar with the investigation, as the government committee submitted report late yesterday to the Home Ministry after nearly two and half months of probe.
The reports said the government committee has advised further inquiry by another expert committee into suspected "foreign or external links" into the carnage.
The committee members, however, said they could not establish any "external hand" in the mutiny despite wide speculations about involvement of militants, foreign terrorist groups or intelligence agencies.
"We have prepared the report on the basis of what we saw, heard and understood, not led by any speculation," chairman of the 12-member committee (retd) additional secretary to the government Anisuzzaman Khan told newsmen while handing over the 309-page report to Home Minister Sahara Khatun late yesterday.
Officials familiar with the investigation said the committee noted that the mutiny was continuation of the revolts in 1973 and 1991 over leadership in the border force while the February 25-26 rebellion was part of their "mission to oust the foreign birds (army officers) from BDR".
They said killings were not part of their original plans but a number of rebels carried out the massacres going beyond the control of the mutiny leaders. The carnage had claimed lives of 57 army officers including BDR chief Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed.
"BDR jawans (soldiers) committed the murders on their own. Our investigation did not find any involvement of outsiders--political leaders, militants or foreign forces," the Daily Star quoted a committee member as saying.
In a related development, a major mutiny suspect BDR's Deputy Assistant Director Touhid Alam has been remanded in custody for fresh interrogation for seven more days, as he was in jail to face trial in treason and mutiny charges along with other suspects.