This story is being republished on account of National Mourning Day
Today is the National Mourning Day of Bangladesh, the darkest day in the history of the nation.
On August 15 in 1975, the architect of Bangladesh’s independence was assassinated along with most of his family members at the crack of dawn by a cabal of army personnel.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s murderers were backed by powers who were against the spirit of the Liberation War and the idea of Bangladesh.
That night, the conspiring soldiers organised into four groups. The group led by Maj Bazlul Huda attacked the Dhanmondi 32 residence of Bangabandhu.
They shot Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of Mujib, on the ground floor.
The chief of Military Intelligence, Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad, arrived and ordered the troops back to barracks, but he was gunned down at the gate.
Sheikh Mujib was shot and killed at the top of the stairs by Major Nur Chowdhury.
The soldiers went from 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 house aides. 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 the founder of Jubo League, along with 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 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 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 Mohitul Islam filed a case over the 1975 assassination. The Indemnity Ordinance was abrogated on November 12 the same year.
Also Read- August 15 killings: Long wait for justice
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, 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 traceless. Abdul Aziz Pasha died in Zimbabwe while on the run.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born on March 17, 1920 at Tungiparha in Gopalganj.
He began his political career as a student, joining in Muslim League activities and movement for the creation of Pakistan.
After 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 national limelight, making him the undisputed leader of the Bangalis’ freedom struggle against Pakistani exploitation.
He was given the “Bangabandhu” title after he was freed from jail in 1969.
On March 7, 1971, he delivered the historical speech at the Race Course Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan), which inspired the Bangalis to wage an armed struggle to win independence from Pakistan.