50 feared dead in BDR revolt; Hasina calls emergency meeting

Fifty people, including senior army officers, are feared dead in a mutiny staged by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troops over pay dispute, even as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.
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Updated on Feb 26, 2009 11:25 AM IST
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PTI | By, Dhaka

Fifty people, including senior army officers, are feared dead in a mutiny staged by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troops over pay dispute, even as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation.

“We fear some 50 people are dead,” Junior Law Minister Quamrul Islam told reporters on Thursday outside the BDR Headquarters in Polkhana here, the scene of heavy gunbattles.

Islam did not elaborate but the sources said 35 military officers including BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed, who were serving the paramilitary forces on deputation, were still missing.

Meanwhile, Hasina has called the meeting of her senior party leaders and cabinet ministers today to discuss the situation, a day after she offered amnesty to mutiny and assured to meet the demands of the rebel troops.

A government delegation led by Home Minister Shahara Khatun came out of the BDR headquarters after overnight stay to oversee the weapon surrendering by the rebels which began after midnight, Islam said.

“The guards have begun surrendering arms after we have offered amnesty to them,” Khatun told reporters while leaving the compound today, adding that the surrender would complete by later on Thursday. Khatun personally rescued several stranded family members of the officers.

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