National Day of Mourning

Update:

Today is 15 August, a day of pain and sorrow for our nation. On this day in 1975 we lost the father of the nation and most members of his family. They were killed by a group of soldiers. The lives of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s two daughters, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, were saved as they were both out of the country at the time. We express our deepest respects to those who gave their lives on that fateful day.

It is evident from local and foreign sources that the killing was not a mere spur-of-the-moment action by a group of junior army officers. The assassination had long been planned by the conspirators. They were opposed to the independence of Bangladesh and its ideology.

After fighting a bloody war against Pakistan, Bangladesh emerged as an independent state of justice, equity and non-communalism. But those who committed the heinous crime of 15 August 1975, wanted to take Bangladesh back to the Pakistan type of ideology.

The rule of these killers didn’t last long. They were toppled in a matter of 83 days in a counter coup led by Khaled Musharraf. But before leaving the country, the killers assassinated four national leaders who were in jail – Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, M Mansur Ali and AHM Kamaruzzaman.

Later, the governments of Ziaur Rahman, HM Ershad and Khaleda Zia rehabilitated the killers in diplomatic postings abroad. They enforced an indemnity act which blocked the trial of these killers.

When the government of Sheikh Hasina was installed in 1996, the trial of Bangabandhu’s killers began and after a long legal process, five killers were finally hanged on 28 January 2010. These killers were Col Syed Farooq Rahman, Col Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Maj Bazlul Huda, Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed (Artillery) and Col AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed (Lancer).

However, Col Khandkar Abdur Rashid, Lt Col Shariful Huq Dalim, Lt Col AM Rashid Chowdhury, Risaldar Muslem Uddin, Lt Col SH Nur Chowdhury and Col Abdul Majed could not be executed as they remain abroad. So though the trial of the Bangabandhu killing case is complete, the sentences have not been carried out in full.

The government repeatedly pledges to bring back the killers of Bangabandhu from abroad. They have not been able to do so for the past 19 years. Nur Chowdhury resides in Canada. Shariful Huq Dalim and Rashid Chowdhury are said to be in the US. It should be seen whether the inability to bring the killers back is a diplomatic failure on our part.

On this death anniversary of Bangabanhhu, it is time for introspection. He wanted to bring a smile to the face of the downtrodden people. He wanted democracy and to establish a non-communal nation. How far has his dream come true?

The main objective of Bangladesh’s independence was freedom from exploitation and discrimination. On Bangabandhu’s death anniversary, we should pledge to establish his ideals not just in word, but in deed.

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