Border Guards Bangladesh

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Bangladesh
বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ
BGB Flag.png
Flag of BGB
Active 1795–present
Country

Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svgEast India Company
British Raj British India (1873-1974)
Pakistan Pakistan (1947–1971)

Bangladesh Bangladesh (1971–present)
Allegiance Bangladesh
Branch Border Guards
Type Paramilitary
Size 67,000+
BGB HQ Pilkhana
Nickname BGB
Patron President
Anniversaries 26 March
Engagements World War I
World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Bangladesh Liberation War
2001 Bangladeshi-Indian border skirmish
Decorations 1. Bir Sreshtho
2. Bir Uttom
3. Bir Bikrom
4. Bir Protik
Website http://www.bgb.gov.bd
Commanders
Director General Major General Aziz Ahmed [1]
Deputy Director General Brigadier General
Director (Ops & Trg) Colonel
Director (Admin) Colonel
Insignia
Identification
symbol
BGR Logo.png

Border Guard Bangladesh or BGB (Bengali: বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ) (formerly known as the Bangladesh Rifles[1]) is the oldest uniformed force in Bangladesh. It is a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs. BGB is primarily responsible for the border security of the country, in Bangladesh the force is known as "The Vigilant Sentinels of the National Frontier".[2]

History[edit]

Border Guard Bangladesh as a paramilitary force, is entrusted with the responsibility to defend the 4,427 km border of the country. It is the first line of defence for the nation. BGB boasts an illustrious past with rich traditions and a remarkable military history spanning over two centuries. During peacetime this force is also responsible for anti-smuggling operations, investigating cross border crime and extending governmental authority to remote and isolated areas. From time to time BGB has also been called upon to assist the administration in the maintenance of internal law & order, relief and rehabilitation work after any kind of natural disaster. During wartime BGB comes under the control of the Ministry of Defence as an auxiliary force to Bangladesh Army.

Ramgarh Local Battalion (1795–1861)[edit]

The force was established in 29 June 1795 at the city of 'Ramgarh' consisting of 486 personnel as the “Frontier Protection Force” under the command of the East India Company. Later the force was converted into a paramilitary unit with its own name (Ramgarh Local Battalion) and uniform. At that time its primary responsibility was to suppress insurgent activities around the Ramgarh area. During 1799, the force established its first camp at Pilkhana, where the headquarters remain to this day. The camp unit then was known as “Special Reserve Company”.

Frontier Guards (1861–1891)[edit]

The Ramgarh Local Battalion was renamed as the 'Frontier Guards' and remained so for thirty years.

Bengal Military Police (1891–1919)[edit]

In 1891 the Frontier Guards were re-organized and re-equipped with modern weapons and renamed once again as the ‘Bengal Military Police’. Commanded by a Subedar (Senior Warrant Officer), the BMP had four companies located in Dhaka, Dhumka, and Gangtok. This force also participated in the First World War.

Eastern Frontier Rifles(1920–1947)[edit]

The BMP was reorganized yet once again and renamed as the ‘Eastern Frontier Rifles’ in 1920. Its primary task was to protect the borders. It also took part in numerous military operations during the Second World War.

East Pakistan Rifles (1947–1971)[edit]

After the partition of the Indian sub-continent ‘Eastern Frontier Rifles’ was re-grouped and renamed as the 'East Pakistan Rifles'. It was the primary border protection force of the then East Pakistan. A number of Metropolitan Armed Police of Calcutta and some 1,000 ex-soldiers of West Pakistan merged into this force. Officers from the army were transferred to command and reorganize EPR. In 1958, it was also assigned the anti-smuggling duties on top of its primary role as the border guards. In 1965 India Pakistan war this force fought valiantly and successfully in a number of skirmishes in Lathitila, Dohogram, Laksmipur, Assalong and Boroibari. Major Tofael was awarded the highest military award of erstwhile Pakistan, ‘Nishan-e-Haider’, for his action in the Laksmipur Operation. The strength of the force was 13,454 during March 1971.

Bangladesh Rifles (Bangladesh Liberation War 1971-2010)[edit]

A Bangladesh Rifles Senior Warrant Officer (left in yellow/green outfit) applies a mechanical advantage control/hold to a US Marine during training.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 nearly nine thousand of its members took up arms against the brutal crackdown of the Pakistan Army upon the call of the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on the 26th March 1971 at Kalurghat Radio Station, Chittagong. Eight hundred and seventeen of those were known to be killed in action. During the war, members of the EPR were the first to respond against the Pakistan Army, move to Sholashahar and the Cantonment informing all Bengali soldiers to join them. The E.P.R. Officers captured and executed all Pakistani Officers and moved forward. On 26 March, Pakistan Army sent a troops . The E.P.R. ambushed them at Kumira. According to Captain Rafiq, "This ambush by the E.P.R. troops at Kumira was the first direct action against the enemy in the history of our liberation war."[3]

On 26 March 1971, declaration of independence also stimulated Rifles' members participation in the liberation struggle right from its inception. At the final Bangladesh Forces Sector Commanders Conference presided over by General M.A.G Osmani.

At the time, East Pakistan Rifles was the border security and anti-smuggling organisation. It was commanded by the Junior Commissioned Officers at the company level as all the companies of EPR were situated within 5 miles of the international boundary. There used to be only 2 Commissioned officers from the Pakistan Army to each Wing of EPR (the present-day Battalions were called Wings). In the month of March 1971, there were 12 EPR wings.

The main revolt by the EPR was led by the company commanders, the subedar, namely:

  • Subedar Abdur Rob
  • Subedar (later on Director) Khairul Bashar Khan BP
  • Subedar Arob Ali
  • Subedar Talukder
  • Subder Mofizuddin
  • Subedar (later DAD) Muzaffor Ahmed BP
  • Subedar Nazrul Islam
  • Subedar (later AD) A. Mannan
  • Subder (later AD) Shukkur BU
  • Subedar (later AD) Osman Ghani BP
  • Subdedar B.R. Chowdhury
  • Subedar (later AD) Fazlul Haque Chowdhury
  • and many other unknown JCOs who formed the backbone of the Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 nearly nine thousand of its members took up arms against the brutal genocide of Pakistan Army. Eight hundred and seventeen of those were known to be killed in action.

On January 29, 1972, the East Pakistan Rifles was renamed the Bangladesh Rifles.

2001 Bangladeshi-Indian border conflict[edit]

The 2001 Indian–Bangladeshi border conflict took place in the third week of April 2001 between companies of the Bangladesh Rifles and the Indian Border Security Force on the poorly marked international border between the two countries. This was the worst armed conflict Bangladesh was involved in since Independence.

The April 16–19 fighting took place around the village of Padua (known as Pyrdiwah in India), which adjoins the Indian state of Meghalaya and the Timbil area of the Bangladesh border in the Sylhet district. In that area, 6.5 kilometres of the border have remained in dispute for the past 30 years.

The trigger for the clash appears to have been an attempt by Indian forces to construct a footpath from an army outpost in Padua across a disputed territory some 300 metres wide to Indian Meghalaya. When the Indian Border Security Force refused to withdraw, the Bangladeshi border force attacked and retook Pyrdiwah village. As per the Bangladesh Rifles chief, the village had been illegally occupied by India since Bangladesh's independence in 1971.

This incident left 16 Indian Border Security Force paramilitary men dead and 3 Border Guards Bangladesh men dead with 5 other BGB troops injured.[4]

February 2009 Mutiny[edit]

On 25 February 2009, regular BDR soldiers mutinied against their officers who were seconded from the Bangladesh Army and killed many senior officers, killing almost the entire higher echelon of the command structure (about 57 Army officers who were present in the Bangladesh Rifles’ headquarters in the capital Dhaka), including the Director General of BDR. The soldiers mutinied due to poor pay and working conditions and widespread abuse by corrupt officers.[5][6][7]

After 30 hours, being surrounded by Bangladesh Army tanks, the mutineers surrendered with about 6000 of them taken under arrest, ending the mutiny.[8]

The mutineers were subjected to widespread abuse including torture, daily beatings, electrocution which resulted in about 50 custodial deaths and many cases of permanent paralysis. Torture is routinely used by security forces in Bangladesh, even though it is a state party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Human Rights Watch and others have long documented the systematic use of torture in Bangladesh by its security forces, including the army, the Rapid Action Battalion, and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, the country’s main intelligence agency.[6][8]

The mutineers were given unfair mass trials that did nothing to determine guilt and handed out mass death sentences. Human Rights Watch said in a report that "The mass trials of nearly 6,000 suspects raise serious fair trial concerns". "Those responsible for the horrific violence that left 74 dead should be brought to justice, but not with torture and unfair trials," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The government’s initial response to the mutiny was proportionate and saved lives by refusing army demands to use overwhelming force in a heavily populated area. But since then it has essentially given a green light to the security forces to exact revenge through physical abuse and mass trials."[8]

In the aftermath Bangladesh Rifles was reorganized with fresh recruits. The organization is still managed by commissioned officers seconded from the Bangladesh army.

Border Guard Bangladesh (2010–onward)[edit]

The Bangladesh Rifles have gone through some fundamental changes since 2010. It was officially renamed as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on January 23, 2011 and reorganized with fresh recruits. With a current strength is 67,000+ structured along 61 battalions and numerous border outposts (B.O.P.), mostly along the borders. Administration and most of the officer corps are trained and deputed from the Bangladesh Army however there are around 100 officers promoted from within the force itself.

2014 Bangladeshi-Myanmar border skirmish[edit]

On May 28, during a routine patrol of the BGB, in Bandarban District along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Myanmar Border Police opened indiscriminate firing on the BGB patrol. The incident took the life of Border Guard Corporal Mizanur Rahman 43. The body of the slain soldier was then carried over the border by Myanmar Border Police. On May 30 upon request of the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh a BGB team was waiting near border pillar no. 52 for identification of the dead body which was proposed by the Myanmar side. However, to the complete surprise of the BGB, Myanmar border forces suddenly started firing on the waiting BGB team without any provocation resulting in the BGB team returning fire. The Myanmar border forces out gunned by the BGB requested for cease fire and on the following day returned the dead body of Corporal Mizanur Rahman. This incident took the total lives of 4 Myanmar border forces as well as BGB Corporal Mizanur Rahman. Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had protested strongly to the Burmese ambassador over the unprovoked eruption of gunfire by Burmese border troops.[citation needed]

Decorations[edit]

The then East Pakistan Rifles, joined the Bangladesh War of Independence on the side of Mukti Bahini in 1971. One hundred and forty one members earned gallantry awards for their outstanding contribution to the liberation war of Bangladesh.

Naik Nur Mohammad Sheikh and Naik Munshi Abdur Rouf posthumously earned the Bir Sreshtha, which is the highest gallantry award of the nation.

8 earned the Bir Uttom.

40 earned the Bir Bikram and 91 earned the Bir Protik awards.

After independence, on 3 March 1972 the force had been renamed as Bangladesh Rifles. As a mark of recognition for the courage and bravery of its members, BDR introduced 'Bangladesh Rifles Podok' in 1985 and President Rifles podok’ in 1989. So far, 21 members had received the 'Bangladesh Rifles Podok' and 29 had received the ‘President Rifles Podok’.

Responsibilities[edit]

  • Patrolling and securing the border
  • Investigating cross border crimes
  • Anti-smuggling Operations
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Domestic law enforcement during national emergencies
  • Acting as a reserve force under M.O.D. during war

Organization[edit]

The BGB is commanded by a Major General. The BGB administration and most of the officer corps are trained and deputed from the Bangladesh Army. There are, however, around 100 officers who are promoted from within the force itself. They can be promoted as high as Deputy Director (D.D) which is equivalent to the rank of Lt. Colonel and Assistant Director(A.D) equivalent to the rank of major and Deputy Assistant Director(D.A.D) equivalent to the rank of Captain in Bangladesh Army . Its current strength is 67,000+ structured along 61 battalions and numerous border outposts (B.O.P.), mostly along the borders.

BGB is organized into a central headquarters and 4 regional headquarters. Under the regional headquarters there are 16 sectors. Each sector is commanded by a Colonel.

  • Central HQ: Pilkhana, Dhaka[2]
    • Director-General (DG):
      • Deputy Director-General (DDG):
      • Director (Operations and Training):
      • Director (Administration):
      • Sector Command (Dhaka):
        • 13th BGB Battalion
        • 24th BGB Battalion
        • 36th BGB Battalion
        • 44th BGB Battalion
    • North Eastern Regional HQ: Sarail
      • Sector Command (Comilla):
        • 12th BGB Battalion
        • 19th BGB Battalion
        • 33rd BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Mymensingh):
        • 6th BGB Battalion
        • 16th BGB Battalion
        • 27th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Srimangal):
      • Sector Command (Sylhet):
        • 5th BGB Battalion
        • 8th BGB Battalion
        • 14th BGB Battalion
        • 38th BGB Battalion
    • North Western Regional HQ: Rangpur
      • Sector Command (Dinajpur):
        • 2nd BGB Battalion
        • 3rd BGB Battalion
        • 20th BGB Battalion
        • 40th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rajshahi):
        • 37th BGB Battalion
        • 39th BGB Battalion
        • 43rd BGB Battalion
        • 46th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rangpur):
        • 25th BGB Battalion
        • 31st BGB Battalion
        • 7th BGB Battalion
        • 45th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Thakurgaon):
    • South Eastern Regional HQ: Khagrachari
      • Sector Command (Baghaichari):
      • Sector Command (Bandarban):
        • 10th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Chattagram):
        • 15th BGB Battalion
        • 17th BGB Battalion
        • 28th BGB Battalion
        • 42nd BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Khagrachari):
        • 9th BGB Battalion
        • 11th BGB Battalion
        • 21st BGB Battalion
        • 29th BGB Battalion
        • 30th BGB Battalion
        • 47th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rangamati):
        • 1st BGB Battalion
        • 4th BGB Battalion
        • 18th BGB Battalion
        • 26th BGB Battalion
    • South Western Regional HQ: Jessore
      • Sector Command (Kushtia):
        • 32nd BGB Battalion
        • 35th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Khulna):
        • 34th BGB Battalion
        • 22nd BGB Battalion
        • 23rd BGB Battalion
        • 41st BGB Battalion

Equipment[edit]

Name Type Caliber Notes
Type 92 Semi-automatic pistol 9mm Standard issue sidearm.
Type 54 Semi-automatic pistol 7.62mm Chinese version of Soviet Tokarev TT-33 in service with all branches of armed, para-military and law enforcement services.
BD-08 Assault rifle 7.62mm Produced under license by BOF.
M16A4 Assault rifle 5.56mm With M203 grenade launcher.
Type 85 Sniper rifle 7.62mm
BD-08 Light machine gun 7.62mm Produced under license by BOF.
Bren Gun Light machine gun 7.62mm
Rheinmetall MG 3 General purpose machine gun 7.62mm
Type 63-1 Mortar 60 mm Being replaced by Type 93.
M 29A1 Mortar 81mm
Otokar Cobra LAV A 4x4 wheeled LAV. 17 Received in 2008. 7 are in use with Bangladesh Police since 2007.
Akshay class Coastal Patrol Craft 1 ship (BGB Shah Jalal)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bangladesh Rifles to get new name". BBC News. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Bangladesh
  3. ^ (Major Rafiq: A Tale of Millions, Page 56 and Aberar Shongram Shadhinotar Shongram, P:135, by: Lieutenant Colonel Abu Osman Chowdhury)[verification needed]
  4. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1284789.stm
  5. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7910837.stm
  6. ^ a b http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12123651
  7. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/02/25/bangladesh.gunbattle/index.html
  8. ^ a b c "Human Rights Watch Report on Bangladesh Rifles Mutiny Trial". Human Rights Watch. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2014.