There had been an attempt on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's life three months before he was assassinated on August 15, 1975.
But many senior Awami League leaders appear to be in dark about the May 21 incident that first came to light after WikiLeaks published a US embassy cable sent from Dhaka.
The government at that time had strictly instructed the press not to report the incident, the cable said.
“We have received two reports that President Mujibur Rahman was target of assassination attempt on evening of May 21,” the cable, dated May 23, 1975 noted. “Attempt occurred as Mujib was returning to his residence after visiting new TV station on outskirts of Dacca.”
Indian newspaper The Hindu ran a report on the incident on April 13, 2013 citing WikiLeaks.
The Dhaka Tribune approached several senior Awami League politicians, who were close to Bangabandhu, to know more about the attack but none could say anything about it.
Amir Hossain Amu, Bangabandhu's close aide and Awami League Advisory Council member, told the Dhaka Tribune that he had no idea about the attack.
Dr Kamal Hossain, who was close to Bangabandhu, hinted that an attack had been carried out on Bangabandhu while he was returning from Cox’s Bazar.
“When Bangabandhu and I were in Jamaica in April 1975, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi warned him saying that their intelligence had reasons to believe that an attempt on Bangabandhu's life was imminent, but Bangabandhu did not pay heed to the warning.
“He told Indira that he was the leader of a nation who loved him more than their lives. He said he did not believe a Bangladeshi man could kill him,” the veteran lawyer said.
“Even the Pakistan government did not have the nerve to do anything to Bangabandhu, but his own people killed him. I had not believed it was possible, but it happened.”
The cable, published by WikiLeaks, said the primary source of the information about the attack was the embassy’s Bangali political assistant who said he was told by deputy superintendent of police assigned to the president’s security unit.
Another source was a journalist. “Both accounts say grenade used,” the cable read.
“According [to] pressman's report, Mujib escaped uninjured but two unidentified persons were injured,” the cable said. “He adds press given strict instructions by Press Information Department to suppress story.”
A leftist party leader, who was a mid-level JaSad leader in 1975, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We heard about the attempt on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from a few sources, but none of them was authentic. It seemed like a gossip.”
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, a trusted deputy of Bangabandhu, did not respond to requests for comments for this article.