Police have no clue of Major (retd) Jalil's whereabouts

Major Abdul Jalil has been accused of the murder of Major General Khaled Mosharraf, Colonel Nazmul Husa, Lieutenant Colonel ATM Haidar on 7 November, 1975

Law enforcement agencies including the police do not have any specific information about the whereabouts of Major (retd) Abdul Jalil, the main accused in the Colonel Khandkar Nazmul Huda murder case. It has been confirmed that he is alive. It is learned that he used to live in an apartment in Siddheshwari of the capital a couple of years ago. Nobody has any information as to where he lives now. A law enforcement source said he may be abroad. Law enforcement agencies are trying to trace him.

A group of army personnel killed Colonel Khandkar Nazmul Huda, Bir Bikram, at the MP Hostel of the Jatiya Sangsad in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar of the capital on 7 November 1975. Two sector commanders of the liberation war, Major General Khaled Mosharraf Bir Uttam and Lieutenant Colonel ATM Haider Bir Uttam were also killed that day. Major (retd.) Abdul Jalil has been made the main accused in a case filed over the killings by Naheed Ezahar Khan, daughter of late Colonel Nazmul Huda and an Awami League MP in reserved women's seat.

Former army chief and the founder of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) late Ziaur Rahman and the late Lieutenant Colonel Abu Taher, who was associated with JSD, had also been made accused in the case filed 47 years after the murder. Ziaur Rahman came to the core of the power on 7 November 1975 following several coups after the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family. Lieutenant Colonel Abu Taher played a role in the coup as part of Gono Bahini, the armed wing of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD).

The case filed after so many years garnered a lot of controversy in the political arena.

Colonel Nazmul Huda was the commander of a subsector of Sector 8 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. He was one of the accused in the Agartala Conspiracy Case filed in 1968 indicting 35 people, including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

BNP has questioned the purpose of filing the case over the killing of Colonel Nazmul Huda. The party believes the government may have instigated the family to file the case ahead of national election.

However, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo that the affected family can file a case at any time. Since the family has filed a case now, investigations will be carried out.

Who is Major Abdul Jalil

MA Hamid witnessed the 1975 counter-coups as an army officer. He retired as a colonel. He recorded the events in a book titled 'Tinti Sena Obhyuthan O Kichhu Na Bola Kotha’ (‘Three army coups and some untold stories). The book was first published in May 1993. MA Hamid died on 25 July 2008.

Colonel (retd) Hamid has given some accounts of the murders of Khaled Musharraf, ATM Haider and Khandkar Nazmul Huda in his book. According to his narrative, Major Jalil entered the mess (MP hostel) in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar with some agitated soldiers. Three persons were gunned down one after the other. The book brings up the name of a Major Jalil in the course of events on that day, but it does not elaborate any detail about his identity.

A former army official wishing not to be named confirmed that the Major Jalil mentioned in the book by Lieutenant Colonel MA Hamid was not the then JSD leader Major MA Jalil. This former army official said that Major (retd.) Abdul Jalil, named in the case, joined in the liberation war as a cadet in 1971. A total of 60 cadets were commissioned into the army in October, 1971. Those cadets are said to be the first commissioned officers of the Bangladesh Army. Abdul Jalil was one of them.

Prothom Alo talked to two other former army officials about the matter. Both of them are affiliated with two political parties. They said that Colonel Khandkar Nazmul Huda was the brigade commander of Rangpur at the 10th East Bengal Regiment. Major Jalil was also deployed in the 10th East Bengal Regiment. Nazmul Huda came to Dhaka from Rangpur with 700 soldiers of his brigade during a counter-coup at that time with the support of Khaled Musharraf. He had been staying at the MP hostel in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar with his soldiers where the killings took place.

The former officials could not provide any information about when Major Abdul Jalil took retirement or what did he do after that.

Where is Abdul Jalil?

Law enforcement agencies do not have specific information about Major Jalil's current whereabouts. When contacted with several officials of different levels of the police, many of them said that Major Abdul Jalil might be abroad. But they could not provide the name of any countries where he might be right now. They do not even have any information about when he left the country. Others think that Major Jalil may still be in the country. There has been no discussion about him in the last four decades. He also stayed away from any political or social activities.

The case statement filed by Colonel Nazmul Huda's daughter reads, the officers, JCOs and soldiers of the 10th East Bengal along with Major (Retd.) Md Asad Uzzaman, Major (Retd.) Md Abdul Jalil shot three army officials Nazmul Huda, Khaled Mosharraf and ATM Haider with intent to kill. The assailants bayoneted them to ensure death after they had been shot. In the statement the name of another former army official Major (retd.) Asad Uzzaman came up along with Abdul Jalil among the people directly involved in the murder. Asad Uzzaman died a few months ago. In the statement of the case, it is mentioned that Abdul Jalil is alive.

Naheed Ezahar Khan, the plaintiff in the case, also told reporters that Abdul Jalil was made accused in the case since he was alive among her father's killers. She refused to comment on the matter when Prothom Alo contacted with her.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that the investigation will bring the facts forth.

Why this case after 47 years

Ziaur Rahman came to power in 1975 after several coups and later became the president of the country. He formed his own political party BNP at the time.

BNP has questioned the purpose of suddenly filing a case over killing of Colonel Khandkar Nazmul Huda on 7 November 1975. Secretary general of the party, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, said that when the BNP is carrying out a movement ahead of the national elections, the government instigated this case after so many years of the incident in order to create a misconception about Ziaur Rahman.

Colonel Abu Taher was involved with JSD. He has also been made an accused in the case. A section of the JSD is now a the political ally of ruling Awami League. JSD leader Hasanul Haque Inu, however, appreciated the filing of the case.

He told Prothom Alo that the facts should be unearthed even after a long time. But he also said that, including Colonel Abu Taher’s (retd) name to this case will obscure the real facts, information and truth.

Awami League joint general secretary Mahbub Ul Alam Hanif disagrees with Inu as he told Prothom Alo that there is no scope to view the matter politically. The families affected by the killing of three officials including Khaled Mosharraf and Nazmul Huda could not seek justice at that time. He claimed that now is the right time for the affected family to file a case. The government has nothing to do with the matter.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat