MOKTEL HOSSAIN MUKHTI
Bangabondhu proclaimed independence on March 26 in 1971 and the people dived into nine months long bloody battle and achieved the long desired sweetest freedom, He also gave restless effort to represent an esteemed Bangalee nation on the world stage. His golden-etched name will remain in the history of Bangalees and Bangladesh forever. But our nation has been waiting from 34 years for justice his brutal murders. August 15 in 1975 is a black-chapter in the history of Bangalee nation. Bangabondhu and his family members were ruthlessly murdered by anti liberation force and with the help of army member in this day. And the nation incurred an irretrievable loss. The nation is deeply shocked and full with grief for this shameful incident. Now, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangabondhu is the main target by killer's group especially Islamic militant group.
The country today observes National Mourning Day on the 34th death anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabondhu, with a vow to implement the longstanding High Court verdict in the case in connection with his murder. The day is a public holiday. The government chalked out nationwide programmes to observe the day at the state level. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (she is a daughter of Bangabondhu), will visit her father's grave at Tungipara under Gopalgonj district today. Along with ruling Awami League (AL), different political parties, and student and socio-cultural organizations also planned programmes to mourn the killings of Bangabondhu and most of his family members on this day in 1975. Three separate attacks on this day 34 years ago left 24 people killed. Bangabandhu's two daughters -- Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana -- could escape the bloodbath as they were abroad at the time. The victims also including wife of Bangabondhu Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and nine-year-old Sheikh Russell, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Parveen Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, nephew Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni and his wife Begum Arju Moni, brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, 13-year-old Baby Serniabat, Serniabat's son Arif and four-year-old grandson Babu, three guests, Bangabondhu's four domestic helps, and his security chief Col Jamil Uddin Ahmed.
Bangabondhu united the Bangalees to throw off the shackles of Pakistani oppression and steered them towards independence. His stirring speech on March 7, 1971, before a crowd of lakhs ready to stake everything for freedom, left an indelible imprint on the nation's memory. For 21 long years, his killers had been immune from prosecution due to the Indemnity Ordinance, which was finally repealed in 1996, paving the way for trials of the killers. A murder case was filed on October 2, 1996. In November 1998, a trial court awarded death penalty to 15 former army officers for killing Bangabondhu and his family members. The High Court (HC) upheld the death sentences of 12. Five of the condemned -- dismissed army personnel Lt Col Syed Farooq-ur Rahman, Lt Col Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lt Col Muhiuddin Ahmed, Maj AKM Mahiuddin Ahmed, and Maj Bazlul Huda -- are behind bars while six are hiding abroad. Another condemned Aziz Pasha died. The five condemned convicts filed separate appeals with the Appellate Division of Supreme Court in the last week of October 2007 against their death sentences pronounced by the HC.Law Minister Shafique Ahmed recently told journalists that hearings of the appeals will start soon as there is no shortage of judges in the Supreme Court now. The condemned six still at large are Shariful Haque Dalim, AKM Mahiuddin, Rashed Chowdhury, Nur Chowdhury, Abdul Mazed, and Moslemuddin.
YB Chavan: The new president [Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed] has sent us assurances that he was standing by the same policy but we are concerned, in particular, whether the new government will take an extreme Islamic posture. This would create problems for the minority in Bangladesh. If the Hindus again feel insecure, there might be a new wave of refugees. Kissinger: Is there a large minority group in Bangladesh? Chavan: About 15%. It is a major factor. So far the new government (after Mujib killing) has given assurances it would follow the same policy as Mujib, but we are naturally worried about the influence of Pakistan on Bangladesh. Kissinger: What is your impression? Chavan: They have just announced diplomatic relations. This is a good thing. Even under Mujib we recommended this. We never wanted an exclusive relationship with Bangladesh. Our worry is only this: That they might try to give a different connotation to the situation by giving an Islamic twist to things. Also the Chinese recognized [Bangladesh] only after the coup. Frankly, we are worried. There are radical communist elements in Bangladesh which the Chinese might try to help. Here we hope the US andIndia will have a common approach.
After a while, Kissinger asked his Indian counterpart, “What is the tendency of the [Bangladesh] military? Is it anti-Indian?" Chavan replied, "Frankly, there is some anti-Indian tendency, I am sorry to say." At this point, Kewal Singh, the then secretary of Indian external affairs ministry, chipped in, "Some people hostile to Mujib were brought back. We don't want to give the impression we are concerned but pro-Islamic and pro-radical groups have some strength."
Chavan and Kissinger met the following day as well and talked about Bangladesh. Almost immediately they got down to serious talking about political ramifications of the August 15 coup d'état. Yet again, the Indian minister said, "We are worried about Bangladesh. Radical movements are already there. If Pakistan and China converse their efforts, this could pose a problem. This would be a new factor in South Asia which needs assessment." The secretary of state said, "Previously, the Chinese were opposed to Bangladesh. They were not among Mujib's admirers." As he asked if India had any advance indication of the coup, his opposite number replied, "None."
Kissinger then observed, "People are always complaining that we don't know about things in advance…They should realize that any coup that succeeds must have fooled someone. Mujib just couldn't have imagined that anyone would organize a coup against him. As I understand it, your relations with Bangladesh are now good. What you are concerned about is a future possibility.”
TN Kaul, the then Indian ambassador to the US, added, "The danger is Pan Islamism." At one point, Kissinger said, "The real worry would be if countries with resources like Saudi Arabia get radical leaders. Then there would be trouble." Kaul said, "One reason why we banned the Jamaat Islami and RSS is that these parties were getting money from the outside." The Kissinger-Chavan meeting gives an impression that none of the two countries had prior knowledge of the military takeover.
But the US state department's documents suggest quite the contrary. They show that like India, the US had gathered that something sinister was brewing, and it had even informed Bangabondhu about it. Minutes of a staff meeting headed by Kissinger after August 15, show that the US was well aware of the plot. There, Kissinger was heard enquiring Alfred Atherton Jr., assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs in 1974-1978, about the assassination. Atherton said the US had lots of indications in March that some quarters were scheming to kill Mujib. Kissinger asked, "Didn't we tell him [Mujib] about it?" The assistant secretary of state said, "We told him at the time." As his boss pressed to know if Bangabondhu was told who it was going to be, Atherton answered, "I will have to check whether we gave him the names." At that point, Hyland of Bureau of Intelligence and Research said, "We were a little imprecise on that."
The rise of Islamist militancy, once a fear, is a reality now, 34 years after the August 15 carnage. During the BNP-Jamaat-led rule in 2001-2006, Islamist outfits spread tentacles across the country thanks to patronage from some influential leaders of the ruling alliance. Though the BNP government woke up to the dangers of militancy towards the end of its tenure, it was too little too late. Now the task lies with Awami League-led grand alliance that came to power on promises that include the one to root out militancy. And at the centre stage in the combat against militancy is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who herself had been the target of several attacks.
Now the peoples of Bangladesh have don't want to bother any late to execute the killers of Bangabondhu. In the same time we want to see immediately the constitution of 1972 which was made after our independence. We want to see to our loving country Bangladesh as an actual democratic country, there will have rule of law, good governance, enough food for our poor peoples, nutrition for all children's, there have no discrimination. Source: the daily Star BD
Without a doubt, Bangabandhu is the greatest Bangalee of our known history. He gave us a nation, a new country, a new identity. Even today, he is more powerful as dead than anyone of us alive.
Credits:All of the pictures and information in this book is contained in the book JATIR JANAK Father of the Nation, publised by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust, Road 32, Dhanmondhi R/A, Dhaka-1209. This book was published in August 1, 1997 and available in Muktizuddha Jadughar, Dhaka