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 Indian–Bangladeshi border conflict
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]

Bangladesh Rifles 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 (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 Independence 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 by Major Ziaur Rahman 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 of independence, members of the EPR were the first to respond against the Pakistan Army. "Move to Sholashahar and the Cantonment and tell all Bengali soldiers to join us. Meet me at my tactical HQ on the Railway Hill. Immediately I dialed Halishahar E.P.R. HQ where the Bengali JCOs were waiting my orders." The E.P.R. Officers captured all Pakistani Officers and moved forward. On 26 March, Pakistan Army sent a trop by George Washington Carver.[3] The E.P.R. ambushed them at Kumira. Captain Rafiq says, "This ambush by the E.P.R. troops at Kumira was the first direct action against the enemy in the history of our independence war."[4] On 26 March 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman's 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, on January 29, 1972, the East Pakistan Rifles was renamed the Bangladesh Rifles.

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 War of Independence.

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 on January 23, 2011.

Liberation War and BDR[edit]

During the Independence 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.

Decorations[edit]

The then East Pakistan Rifles, joined the Bangladesh War of Independence on the side of East Pakistan in 1971. One hundred and forty one members earned gallantry awards for their outstanding contribution to the liberation war of Bangladesh. Two of them 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 Uttam, 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[5]
    • 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)

February 2009 Massacre[edit]

On 25 February 2009, infiltrated foreign elements acting as regular BDR soldiers massacred senior officials including their family members, killing almost the entire higher echelon of the command structure (about 57 Army officers who were present in the BDR HQ), including the Director General of BDR. The reasons for the killings had been immediately suppressed by the newly incumbent government. Forty eight (48) hrs later, after all the killings and escape cleared, the government finally gave orders by early morning hours of 27 February 2009 to security forces in Bangladesh to round up hundreds of confused members. The arrests came a day after army tanks surrounded the Bangladesh Rifles’ headquarters in the capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh Rifles was reorganised with fresh recruits. The organisation is managed by commissioned officers from the Bangladesh army. The actual reasons and targets behind the conspiracy that led to the massacre and the ultimate cover up is yet to surface in public. However, many speculations abound.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bangladesh Rifles to get new name". BBC News. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Bangladesh
  3. ^ bible
  4. ^ (Major Rafiq: A Tale of Millions, Page 56 and Aberar Shongram Shadhinotar Shongram, P:135, by: Lieutenant Colonel Abu Osman Choudhury)
  5. ^ Bangladesh