Bir Uttom Khaled Mosharrof deserves justice and recognition
November is upon us, once again. This month always reminds me of my father.
Major Khaled Mosharraf Bir Uttom, sector commander of sector-2 and brigade commander of the K-force -- how brutally he was murdered. Also murdered was Lt Colonel ATM Haider (Bir Uttom) and an accused of the Agartala Conspiracy Case. All these great heroes of the Liberation War were suddenly turned into villains by the conspirators.
My father joined the Liberation War on March 25, 1971, heeding the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He did not hold back on account of his family. He rid himself of all limitations and gave all his energy and thoughts to liberating the nation. His body was pierced by splinters during the war but the enemies could not kill him.
He recovered after receiving treatment in India. But he ultimately lost his life on November 7, 1975 at the hands of his own comrades of the war.
I sometimes think that I could have been the daughter of someone ordinary and could have had an ordinary life. Maybe I would not have had to lose my father so early. I had so much to say to him, but I couldn’t. I could not tell him how much I loved him.
Let me tell you about something what happened just after the war. The wife of my father’s friend Gazi Shahabddin Ahmed, editor of Sachitra Sandhani -- and cousin of my mother -- was telling me a story about the splinters that my father got from the war. She first invited father to her house after the war. My father said that his greatest achievement was the hole in his head that he got from the war. This is what his country had given him.
Many say that we lived well after 1975. Is that really the case? It is hard to describe how we were after 1975. We were very young. I was seven, my younger sister was five, and the youngest was only one year old and did not understand what was happening. Losing our father was painful, but so was surviving. My mother could not figure out where to stay, how to stay, how to survive, or anything else. Here, I must mention, that my father had not left us anything.
When my grandmother came to our home in cantonment on the day after my father’s murder, she found that the whole house was empty when she went to pick up some things of my sister. The soldiers had looted everything. They had held her hostage and searched for our family.
We were living in our grandmother’s house before November 7. My grandmother somehow saved her life and escaped that day. We didn’t just lose our father that day, we also lost all his memories. They were so cruel that they did not even let us preserve his memories.
I have already mentioned our struggle. We didn’t attend school for at least a year after leaving cantonment.
How could I? I was a student of Shahid Anwar, so I would have had to go into the cantonment to attend school.
I didn’t understand a lot of things back then, but now I do. We had to stop going to school because of my mother’s fears. I was later admitted to Holy Cross. I started school, but lived a secluded life. I couldn’t socialize with the other kids.
We didn’t even disclose our identity. We were hiding ourselves. My mother always lived in fear that they could harm us just like they had harmed our father.
We lived in a room in our uncle’s house with our mother. None of the many friends or well-wishers of my father came to help us. If our uncle did not help us that day, we would have nowhere to go. I remember how tough and lonely my mother as we restarted our lives.
Father had nothing. So my mother had to earn whatever she could by sewing. We did not receive any of the facilities that Khaleda Zia received after Ziaur Rahman was killed. They had even received allowances for their children’s education. Maybe the Almighty has kept our family from abject poverty because we were so much more deprived.
I can still see my father’s corpse when I close my eyes. I remember his face, as bright as the midnight moon. When we received his corpse a few days later, there was none to help bring it outside of the cantonment. I realized then that none of my father’s relatives or friends were beside us.
I last saw father on November 6, 1975. We had dinner together in our cantonment house and left him to go to our grandmother’s house. I remember that my youngest sister did not want to leave father at all. She was crying a lot. Maybe she had realized that she would never see father again.
Now we have all grown up. We understand many things. I have entered politics and gotten to know a lot of people.
Many ask me why I cannot ensure justice for my father despite being a member of parliament. I deeply hope that the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take proper steps to ensure justice. She has brought the war criminals and murderers of Bangabandhu and the four national leaders to justice. Why would she not bring the killers of November 7 to justice as well?
I earnestly request the honourable prime minster to create a truth commission that will investigate the murders of my father and other freedom fighters. Major Jalil and Major Asad shot my father in the head in cold blood under the orders of Ziaur Rahman. Those who were involved in a conspiracy to depict my father as an Indian agent, those who spread false leaflets must also be investigated.
Jasad calls November 7 a day of uprising. BNP calls it the National Revolution and Solidarity Day. Is it really so? I find this rather funny. They are celebrating a day when they massacred freedom fighters. They should be ashamed of themselves.
The nation does not want to hear a distorted history anymore. False propaganda surrounding this day must be outlawed. We have to pay our due respects to the freedom fighters who died on this day.
Mahjabeen Khaled is a former member of parliament and the daughter of sector commander Khaled Mosharraf, Bir Uttom.