The Bangladesh Army has hit back at malicious propaganda by some ‘retired officers’ who were earlier identified by Intelligence as part of a regime change effort in the country.

“Bangladesh Army is determined to uphold sovereignty and integrity of the country,” said a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate on Wednesday night.

“Created through the great war of liberation on the hand of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, this 49-year-old force is now professionally efficient and mature,” the ISPR press release said.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is a media and news agency of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. It disseminates military news and information to the country’s media and public.

“The stories recently circulated on social media by a few retired army personnel against honourable personalities and the Bangladesh Army are unrealistic and motivated,” said a statement of Inter Services Public Relations Directorate.

The ISPR press release did not name the retired officers but obviously former Lt Gen H S Sarwardy, Colonel Shahid and Major Delwar were alluded to.

While Shahid had attacked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as “mother of all mafia”, Sarwardy has attacked army chief General Aziz Ahmed as ‘stooge of a neighboring India’. Delwar, like the other two, have gone ballistic against the Hasina regime, saying its days were numbered.

Sarwardy openly called for regime change of an elected government in an interview with Kanak Sarwar, which went viral on YouTube. Delwar and Shahid also said on YouTube that the corrupt government was ‘about to fall.’

Bangladesh Intelligence officials reporting on a regime change plot with the blessings of a Major Power had alerted the Hasina government to possibilities of high misuse of social media to foment unrest in the country, specially in the armed forces.

These officers along with smalltime pro-Jamaat commentator Kanak Sarwar and British activist David Bergman ( now editor of Netranews) are said to be ‘key assets’ in the regime change conspiracy by the Major Power.

PM Hasina, briefed about the conspiracy, said this week that she has faced multiple conspiracies to overthrow her, but “all that had ended up strengthening my party and government”.

The extensive social media use to oust established, entrenched regimes follows the success of Ukraine’s Euromaidan Orange Revolution that had the blessings of the same Major Power that is believed to be involved in a similar operation in Bangladesh.

The ISPR press release blamed these conspiratorial retired officers for “trying to confuse the Army members and the people by collecting conversations of dignitaries from various sources and making up stories through cut and paste, constantly tarnishing the image of the country and the force.”

“Their repeated unruly behaviours justify their status as persona non-grata declared by the Army.

“The members of the Bangladesh Army and the country’s people do not believe in these stories or statements as those are fictional and devoid of morality. They reject them with hatred.”

The Bangladesh army as a professional force has come a long way from the multiple mutinies and mass hangings that tarred its image in the 1970-80s.

That reflects in its growing role in UN Peacekeeping.

“Acceptance at home and abroad is a manifestation of confidence in the Bangladesh Army and its advanced training and professionalism,” said the ISPR press release.

“In addition to dealing with various disasters in the country, the Bangladesh Army has been consolidating its position in world peace by gaining high accolade in the international arena.”

The ISPR press release pointed out that when the prime minister declared war on the coronavirus, “the Army under her direction provided unprecedented services to the people, which brought wide public appreciation for her as well as the Army.”

Subir Bhaumik

Subir Bhaumik is a Kolkata-based senior journalist. He can be reached at: