Bangladesh recalls Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, country’s freedom icon, killed on Aug 15,1975, along with many family members
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – As Bangladesh observes the 46th death anniversary of its freedom icon Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Sunday, some of his killers are still at large.
Many in the country believe that the plot behind the assassination conducted by some disgruntled ruling Awami League activists and military officers on Aug. 15, 1975, remains to be unraveled, although most of the killers have been rounded up and executed over the years.
In 2010, five men involved in the assassination were hanged. Last year police in Bangladesh arrested Abdul Majed, a former military captain, in the capital, Dhaka, who had publicly declared his involvement after the killing and had reportedly been hiding in India for many years. He was soon executed. Another man died of natural causes in Zimbabwe, leaving five other convicts still at large.
Rahman who is popularly known as Mujib is the father of the current prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, who, with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana Siddiq, was visiting Germany at the time of the assassination. The sisters were the only survivors in the family.
Senior politician of Bangladesh and once a close associate of Mujib, Tofail Ahmed alleged that local culprits with the patronization of their external actors killed the leader, indicating a larger plot behind the assassination.
“It was a great conspiracy,” he added.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency Ashfaque Hossain, professor at Dhaka University said Mujib was one of the first category leaders in the then US list, whom the superpower disliked and marked harmful to their interests.
About the leader, Hossain said despite drawbacks, Mujib was an “uncompromised leader”.
In 1938, he was drawn into national politics when top leaders A.K. Fazlul Huq, the then prime minister of undivided Bengal, and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the labor minister, visited his hometown Gopalganj. The young Mujib led a grand rally to receive the leaders.
“After the deaths of these leaders in the 60s, Mujib stepped into their shoes,” he said.
He became a hero in 1966 when he presented a six-point program to the rulers of Pakistan and that opened the way for the secession of Eastern Pakistan or the liberation of Bangladesh.
Originally an activist of Muslim Students League, a student wing of Muslim League – led by Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mujib in his memoirs has written that he believed in the creation of Pakistan to secure the future of Muslims in his part of the world.
After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, he continued struggle demanding rights to people and resisted discrimination. His popularity led him to a landslide victory in the 1970 elections across Pakistan, but the central government refused to hand over power and put him in jail.
But soon after the creation of Bangladesh and his return from a Pakistani jail in 1972, he banned all political parties and imposed a one-party rule after forming Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL).
Many historians including the US-based Lawrence Ziring in his book Bangladesh: From Mujib to Ershad, an Interpretive Study have described this as his fatal mistake. But the ruling Awami League, however, defends the formation of BAKSAL as an essential step to lead the war-torn nation.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen said that Mujib, also referred to as Father of the Nation in Bangladesh, had pursued a foreign policy based on peace and economic development. “Bangladesh will always stand for justice and support the exploited people (like support Palestine, fight against apartheid, etc.),” he said.