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Dhaka Tribune

Ashraf: Jail killings carried out at the behest of Zia

Update : 03 Nov 2014, 10:09 PM

On 39th Jail Killing Day yesterday, the general secretary of the ruling Awami League named BNP founder Ziaur Rahman as the orchestrator of the killings-in-custody of four national leaders in 1975.

AL General Secretary and LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said yesterday that the four national leaders were killed inside Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975 at the directive of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman. 

“August 15 and November 3, 1975, the two most heinous killings in the history of the country, were carried out at the behest of the same killer,” he said. 

Syed Ashraf made the statement after paying tribute to the four national leaders by placing wreaths at their graves at Banani Graveyard.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also paid tribute to the country’s founding president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman yesterday morning by placing wreaths at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi in the capital. 

After placing a wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu, she offered fatiha and munajat for the eternal salvation of the departed souls. 

The prime minister said the target of the conspirators was to destroy the spirit of the Liberation War and leave the nation without leaders. The PM said the conspirators planned to have the Awami League removed from Bangladesh forever. Calling the custodial assassinations an “unprecedented killing,” she said it was a continuation of what had begun with the assassination of her father,  Bangabandhu.

A written speech from President Md Abdul Hamid said: “Their killers wanted to erase the ideals of the Liberation War from the minds of the new generation and set up an undemocratic dictatorship in Bangladesh … Jail Killing Day will forever remain a dark chapter in our national history.”

Senior leaders of the party including Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and Food Minister Kamrul Islam were present, among others.

In the afternoon, the prime minister at a remembrance rally organised by her party at Suhrawardy Udyan said: “The ruler at that time sent those conspirators to different parts of the world to represent Bangladesh as ambassadors. That is a shame for the nation.” 

She warned those who are a threat to the spirit of the independence of the country that her government would punish them no matter who they are.

The national flag and party flag were lowered to half mast at the Awami League’s headquarters and offices across the country to observe the day. 

Different political parties including the ruling Awami League and its allies in the grand-alliance government, associate bodies and other pro-liberation parties and socio-cultural and professional organisations paid homage to the slain four national leaders, who were also close associates of Bangabandhu, in observance of the day. 

In Rajshahi, the AL organised special prayers and milad mehfils at Qamruzzaman’s grave. 

On this day in 1975, four leaders of the wartime national government—acting president Syed Nazrul Islam, prime minister Tajuddin Ahmed and cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside Dhaka Central Jail.

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