On November 27, 2018, right after the pronouncement of the verdict into the death reference by a bench of the High Court Division in Bangladesh, relatives of a number of the army officers murdered during the Pilkhana Massacre at the now-defunct Bangladesh Riflles (BDR) head quarters, had expressed satisfaction over the judgment. They said, souls of the martyred army officials and others would get peace if the verdict was executed immediately. But, almost fifteen months have passed, till date; the High Court is yet to release the full text of its verdict. Writes Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
On November 27, 2017, the HC announced the verdict in which it awarded death penalty to 139 of the 152 accused who were earlier sentenced to capital punishment by a lower court for their involvement in the massacre during the BDR mutiny.
A total of 74, including 57 army officials, were killed during the mutiny that took place at Pilkhana headquarters on February 25-26, 2009.
Meanwhile, KM Zahid Sarwar Kazal, Deputy Attoney General said, the High Court may take at least three more months for releasing the full text of its verdict in the biggest ever criminal case in Bangladesh’s history in terms of the number of accused and convicts.
The defence and the prosecution are unable to move appeals before the Appellate Division in the sensational BDR carnage case, as the High Court is yet to release the full text of its verdict. He said Justice Md Shawkat Hossain, presiding judge of the three-member special HC bench, had written the 11,412-page judgment of the case and put his signature on every page of the verdict.
Justice Shawkat has also sent the verdict to his two other colleagues of the bench — Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique and Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder — for their opinions.
After completing their parts, the two justices will return it to Justice Shawkat, DAG Kazal added.
He also said after receiving the full text of the HC verdict, the government [on behalf of the state] will move appeals before the Appellate Division against the HC verdict that sentenced the convicts to life imprisonment and jail term for different periods.
In the appeals, the government will pray to the apex court to sentence all the convicts to death, he said.
The accused who were acquitted by the HC in the case cannot get released from jail as they did not get the full text of the verdict and the case filed against them under the Explosive Substances Act is pending with a Dhaka court, he added.
Finishing the trial proceedings of the case may take one more year, the DAG added.
Most of the convicted BDR men are becoming radicalized
According to a number of reports published in this newspaper, most of the imprisoned members of Bangladesh Riffles have already been radicalized while few of them have joined hands with notorious jihadist outfits like Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), Ansar Al Islam etc. Sitting in the prisons, these notorious criminals are even engaging into anti-government conspiracies.
See a song dedicated to the martyrs of the Pilkhana Massacre: