On August 15, 1975, the architect of Bangladesh's independence and most of his family members were assassinated at the crack of dawn by a cabal of army personnel
The country is set to observe the National Mourning Day, the darkest day in the history of the nation, on Thursday.
On August 15, 1975, the architect of Bangladesh's independence and most of his family members were assassinated at the crack of dawn by a cabal of army personnel.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s murderers were backed by powers that were against the spirit of the Liberation War and the idea of Bangladesh.
That night, the conspiring soldiers organized into four groups. The group led by Maj Bazlul Huda attacked the Dhanmondi 32 residence of Bangabandhu.
They shot Sheikh Kamal, eldest son of Sheikh Mujib, on the ground floor.
The Chief of Military Intelligence, Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad, arrived and ordered the troops back to the barracks, but he was gunned down at the gate.
Sheikh Mujib was shot and killed at the top of the stairs by Major Noor Chowdhury.
The soldiers went room to room and killed Bangabandhu's wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, brother Sheikh Nasser, Sheikh Jamal and his wife Rosy, and Sheikh Kamal's wife, Sultana.
Bangabandhu's youngest son, 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, was brought out and kept with the household help. He was then dragged back in by one of the majors and shot, despite his begging and crying.
Two other groups massacred Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni, Mujib's nephew and founder of the Jubo League, and his pregnant wife, at 13/1, Dhanmondi. They also killed Abdur Rab Serniabat, Mujib's brother-in-law, and a minister of the government, along with 13 other family members on Minto Road.
Following the assassination, Bangabandhu's commerce minister, Khondaker Mustaq Ahmed, assumed power.
In September 1975, he passed the Indemnity Ordinance to save the killers of Bangabandhu by handing them positions in foreign missions. Soon after, his government was overthrown in a coup d’état and Major Ziaur Rahman took over.
August 15 marked the beginning of over two decades of military rule, corruption, and suppression of democratic politics in Bangladesh.
On October 2, 1996, after the Awami League had returned to power, Bangabandhu’s residential personal assistant, AFM Mohitul Islam, filed a case for the 1975 assassinations. The Indemnity Ordinance was also abrogated on November 12 of the same year.
Police pressed charges against 19 men on January 15, 1997, and Dhaka District and Sessions Judge, Kazi Golam Rasul, condemned 15 of them to death on November 8, 1998.
Syed Faruque Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Mohammad Bazlul Huda, and AKM Mohiuddin (Lancer), were executed on January 27, 2010.
Of the seven other death row convicts, M Rashed Chowdhury, is living in the US and Noor Chowdhury in Canada.
Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haque Dalim, Moslem Uddin, and Abdul Mazed are untraceable. Abdul Aziz Pasha died a natural in Zimbabwe.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born on March 17, 1920, in Tungipara of Gopalganj.
He began his political career as a student, joining the Muslim League movement for the creation of Pakistan.
With the end of British rule, he founded the Purba Pakistan Chhatra League as a student of Dhaka University and soon became involved in the Language Movement against the ruling West Pakistani oppressors.
Mujib continued to rise in national politics because of his active involvement in the Language Movement in 1952, the 1954 general elections, and the six-point declaration in 1966.
He spent most of his political career in jail.
His arrest in the Agaratala conspiracy case catapulted him into the national limelight, making him the undisputed leader of the Bangalis' freedom struggle against Pakistani exploitation.
He was given the title of “Bangabandhu” after he was freed from jail in 1969.
On March 7, 1971, he delivered his historic speech at the Race Course Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan), which inspired Bangalis to wage an armed struggle to win independence from Pakistan.
Observations on Thursday
The government, Awami League, and different political and socio-cultural organizations, educational institutions, and professional groups, have chalked out elaborate programs to pay their utmost respect.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of National Mourning Day.
As part of the program, the national flag will fly half-mast tomorrow atop all offices of government, semi-government, and autonomous bodies, and all educational institutions.
In the morning, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths at the portrait of the Father of the Nation, at Bangabandhu Museum in the capital, at 6:30am. A contingent of the Armed Forces will give a guard of honour to the portrait of Bangabandhu. A special munajat and fateha will also be offered there.
Later in the morning, Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths and offer fateha at the Banani graveyard for family members of the Father of the Nation, and others.
Following the president and the prime minister and other dignitaries, people from all walks of life wearing black badges are likely to visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum to pay homage.
In the morning, the prime minister will also place a wreath at the grave of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara of Gopalganj, his birthplace.
Fateha will be offered and the armed forces will again stage a guard of honour there. A special milad mahfil and prayer will also be held.
In line with the national program, various ministries and departments, directorates and agencies, all city corporations, district councils, municipalities, and union councils, will organize a range of programs to observe the day with due respect and solemnity.
Bangladesh missions abroad will organize discussions and hoist the national flag half-mast atop their respective offices.
Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, private TV channels, and radio stations will play special programs in observance of the National Mourning Day. National and regional newspapers will bring out special supplements on the occasion.
Specially designed posters will be displayed at educational institutions and other public places, reminding us of the black chapter in our country’s history.
The Bangladesh Awami League will hoist national and party flags half-mast atop their offices. Party leaders will place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu in front of Bangabandhu Museum in the capital city at 6:30 am.
Later, party leaders will place wreaths and offer fateha at Banani graveyard for family members of the Father of the Nation and others.
Ruling party leaders will distribute food among the poor, distressed, and orphans in the afternoon.
On August 16, a discussion will be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 4pm with Awami League President Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
District and upazila administrations will observe the day with dua mahfil and discussions in line with the national programs.
Special prayers will be offered at all mosques across the country seeking eternal peace for the departed souls of Bangabandhu and his deceased family members.
Special prayers will also be offered at all temples and places of worship of other non Muslim religions as well.