The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) may have pulled out of Padua village (Pyrdiwah to Indians) and though Bangladesh's foreign secretary Shed Moazzem Ali declared that "we would now try to get it (Padua) back through negotiations", questions are now being asked as to what prompted the bdr personnel to occupy the village which had been under 'Indian occupation' for the last 30 years.
The incident has reportedly shaken the Sheikh Hasina government which, according to a key functionary, is "upset, dismayed and surprised". The bdr, he says, certainly didn't have the political sanction to act the way it did. Hasina's crisis managers immediately went into a huddle to see if there was a broader plot to destabilise the government.
"We're still assessing the whole situation and it's too early to pass any judgement," says the official. Political and military analysts are as puzzled. "I'm not sure why it happened," says Prof Serajul Islam Chowdhury, a leading political analyst, who feels the ground situation on the border could have sparked the conflict.
Similarly, Maj Gen (Retd) Moinul Hossain Chowdhury, though puzzled, criticises the bdr leadership for its non-professional attitude and foolhardy utterances. "He must not make those kind of statements. That's not his job," he says of Maj Gen A.L.M. Fazlur Rahman, the bdr director-general, who wanted the Indians to tender an unconditional apology for initiating the attack. Indeed, Rahman is now under scrutiny and there are many who would want to know what prompted him to issue intemperate statements. But Rahman's indiscretion could be because of his poor professional skills. Says a former colleague, "He's a mediocre chap and didn't deserve to be a general in the first place."
So, could the general have acted alone and indulged in such brinkmanship? Those who know him think he is incapable of orchestrating a...