Court also issues a rule asking the government why its inaction in cancelling the awards should not be declared illegal
The High Court on Tuesday suspended the freedom fighter gallantry awards of four fugitive killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The four convicts are - SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Rashed Chowdhury, and Risaldar Moslehuddin alias Muslem Uddin Khan.
The HC of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order after hearing a petition.
The court also asked the cabinet secretary and the liberation war affairs secretary to take necessary steps in this regard.
Besides, it issued a rule asking the government to explain as to why its inaction in cancelling the gallantry awards should not be declared illegal.
The authorities concerned have been asked to respond to the rule.
Advocate Abdul Kaiyum Khan stood for the petitioner. On December 2, Supreme Court lawyer Subir Nandi Das filed the writ petition.
According to the writ, the government awarded Bir Sreshtho title to seven, Bir Bikrom to 175, and Bir Pratik to 426 in 1973.
Noor, Dalim, Rashed, and Moslehuddin were awarded Bir Pratik.
On December 15, 1973, a gazette notification was issued in this regard.
Many countries including the US, New Zealand and Canda have revoked the gallantry award of convicts, said the petition.
On August 15, 1975, Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated by a cabal of military men.
Eighteen members of his family, including Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three sons – Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, two daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasant leader Abdur Rab Serniabat, youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu, were, among others, killed on that fateful night.
Military Secretary Brigadier General Jamil was also killed. Several members of a family in the capital’s Mohammadpur area were killed by artillery shells fired by the killers on the same day.
On November 19, 2009, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of 12 convicted former army officials for the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members.
Five killers of Bangabandhu – Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed – were hanged in January 2010.
Besides, another fugitive convict, Capt (dismissed) Abdul Majed, hanged in April, 2019.
Another killer Aziz Pasha met natural death in Zimbabwe in 2001.
The fugitive killers are former Lt Col Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Noor, Dalim, Rashed, and Moslehuddin.
Of them, the government know the whereabouts of Noor, Rashed and Moslehuddin while it was not sure about the other three fugitives -- Rashid, Dalim and Majed.
According to the government, Noor has been living in Canada and Rashed in the US.