US to help repatriation of Bangabandhu murder convict


United States Secretary of State John F Kerry pledged Bangladesh to help in repatriation of the most-wanted fugitive Rashed Chowdhury, one of the convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is living in the USA illegally. The information came from the report on Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali’s visit to the US in last December.

Cabinet secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan after the cabinet meeting on Monday briefed media about the report. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting. The report said the US secretary of state is impressed at the steps has been taken by Bangladesh government to contain terrorism.

The cabinet approved the draft of International Finance Corporation Act (amended)-2015 and Bangladesh Palli Unnayan Board Act 2015 (amended)-2015. The secretary said both the acts are already in practice. After incorporating some additions and deletions, both the acts will be translated in Bangla, the secretary added.



The reactionary forces who captured the state power immediately after Bangabandhu’s demise rightly understood that the deceased Mujib is more powerful as the deep rooted image of Bangabandhu cannot be wiped out from the heart of the Bengali unless an ill-designed anti-thesis against Mujib’s ideology could be introduced. So, they initiated the process of history distortion with a view to demeaning Mujib’s image.

The irony is that the major beneficiary of Bangabandhu’s killing was the valiant freedom fighter General Ziaur Rahman. In spite of being a freedom fighter, Zia did not hesitate to be a part of the blueprint of the evil forces. The reactionary forces speculated that if the new generations, who had not witnessed the war of independence, could be kept in the dark concerning the history of our liberation and the contribution of Bangabandhu, they would be successful one day. To serve this purpose, keeping Zia in front they started to distort and fabricate our war history. Not only this, the process of tarnishing the image of Bangabandhu had also begun during Zia’s regime.

Reactionary forces have brought many baseless accusations against Bangabandhu. The following paragraphs attempt to counter some of these allegations.

BAKSAL formation: Many have claimed that it was none but Bangabandhu who killed democracy and established authoritarian rule by introducing BAKSAL. On the surface, this seems to be true. But this becomes half-true if we objectively analyse the rationale behind introduction of BAKSAL. In fact, it could be argued that democracy loving Bangabandhu was bound to embrace authoritarian rule in accordance with the demand of the time. The very objective of BAKSAL was to establish socialism following Soviet model. At that time, socialism had a special appeal to the common people. If we analyse the Russian experience then it can be claimed that Soviet model was a proven model for economic emancipation. Within a short span of time the backward feudalist country Russia became one of the superpowers providing the poor with all sorts of basic needs. Besides, BAKSAL was formed in a democratic way through proper discussion in the parliament, and many people of the country, including leading intellectuals, journalists and other professional, welcomed it. However, right now, no conclusive remark on BAKSAL is possible as it died at its infantile stage.

Question of Secularism: Ideally a secular state should be indifferent to religion-religion should be the private domain of a citizen. But to Bangabandhu, secularism meant restricting the communal politics and giving equal emphasis to all religions. For this, 1972 Constitution banned religion based politics. Religion based communal politics leads to extremism and anarchism disturbing communal harmony. Analysing the consequences of activities of religion based parties worldwide we can claim that banning such politics was a pragmatic spirit of our Constitution. However, Bangabandhu defined secularism is no way anti-Islamic. We can observe that during his time, as the leader of a major Muslim country by dint of population, he was very eager to build good relationships with other Muslim countries and Bangladesh became a prominent member of OIC. Even before Bangladesh received recognition from Pakistan, he invited and received Z A Bhutto in Bangladesh just to improve the bilateral relation with the major Muslim country in the sub-continent. In this context, J. N. Dixit, who was stationed as Deputy High Commissioner of India after our independence has stated that Mujib believed Bangladesh should give priority, not just to its Bengali linguistic and cultural identity, but also, to its Muslim identity. So defining Bangabandhu’s secularism as atheism is mere propaganda.

Declaration of independence: This debate was initiated during Zia’s regime. The context of our liberation had not been created in a day. Rather it had a long history starting from the Language Movement in 1952. It was not that one fine morning in March 1971, an unknown major (Zia was then a mere major in the East Bengal Regiment!) declared independence and people started the war. The fact is, prior to our liberation war, for about half a decade under the magical leadership of Bangabandhu, people were fully motivated to be emancipated from Pakistani colonial regime.

Historical evidences suggest that Zia did not announce it first. On March 27, 1971 Major Zia transmitted a declaration of war on behalf of Sheikh Mujib. But prior to this, shortly after midnight, on March 26, Bangabandhu reportedly sent this message to East Pakistan Radio:”This may be my last message. From today, Bangladesh is independent. I call upon the people of Bangladesh wherever you might be and with whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangladesh and final victory is achieved.”

Moreover, the proclamation of independence of the provisional government also confirmed Bangabandhu’s declaration.

The historic March 7 address of Bangabandhu can also be treated as a declaration of independence. However, the recent historical verdict of the apex court, perhaps has resolved the issue.

Rakkhi Bahini issue: The objective of formation of Rakkhi Bahini was to support both the army and police forces to maintain some semblance of law and order in the war-ravaged country. After independence, some leftist extremists inspired by the Naxalite movement were engaged in various underground activities including killing, which, in turn led to total collapse of law and order of the country. Besides, the defeated “Islamic political fanatics” went underground and started their destructive politics by joining other extremist groups. The law and order situation became so bad that even in broad day light these groups dared to kill their political rivals. In this context, killing of four sitting members of parliament at that time can be cited. In this critical context, Bangabandhu decided to form Rakkhi Bahini, a paramilitary force. Perhaps Bangabandhu wanted to promote freedom fighters and so most of the members of Rakkhi Bahini were recruited from freedom fighters. In addition to police forces, creation of additional forces was not unprecedented in anyway. In this context, existence of National Guard in USA and RAB in Bangladesh can be mentioned. The Rakkhi Bahini worked successfully to control the political anarchism as initiated by the extremist groups. In 1974, it successfully carried out an operation against hoarders and smugglers. However, in some cases Rakkhi Bahini committed excesses and these should have been prevented.

Submissive foreign policy: The reactionary forces recreated the anti-Indian sentiment in the mindset of the citizen and tried to portray Mujib’s foreign policy as submissive towards India. But the fact is, Bangabandhu wanted to maintain friendly relationship with India along with Russia in the context of bi-polar international political setup of that time. It may be mentioned that both Russia and India supported our war of Independence while USA supported Pakistan. So, after independence, it was nothing wrong to keep close tie with these two friendly countries. But Mujib’s government in anyway, was not submissive towards India. In support of this assertion we may point out the fact that within the shortest time of Mujib’s return from Pakistan jail, he could successfully compel the Indian government to take back their armed forces who fought side by side with our freedom fighters. On the bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh, the observation of Dixit was, “… even though Sheikh Mujib knew that during those early days of Bangladesh’s existence the country needed India’s assistance, he did not wish Bangladesh to become dependant on its large neighbouring giant, India, who could unduly influence its politics. For this reason Sheikh Mujib wanted the Indian “connection and influence’ to lessen over time.”

In conclusion, it may be stated that, although Sheikh Mujib was a great leader, he was not by any stretch of the imagination a prophet, or superhuman. As a politician too, no doubt he had some limitations. Researchers in future will hopefully unveil this using authentic history and considering the socio-economic and political context of that time, both nationally and internationally. But distortion of history with a view to tarnishing the great leader cannot be acceptable at any cost.


India gets names of six Bangabandhu killers

India has received a list of six killers of Bangladesh’s independence architect

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Lok Sabha, lower House of Indian Parliament, was told yesterday.

As per information available, the Interpol wing of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has received a list of six wanted criminals who are killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Junior Home Minister Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to a question.

He said appropriate action, including issuing Look-Out Circulars against these six persons, had been taken.

During her talks with her Indian counterpart P Chidambaram in Delhi recently, Home Minister Shahara Khatun raised the issue of India’s handing over of two persons, including riasaldar Mosleuddin, for trying them on the charge of assassinating Bangabandhu.Chidambaram had told Shahara that both the wanted persons were believed to be in West Bengal state, and the security agencies of that were trying to locate them.

He had said that if located, there would be no legal hassle in the handover of the two persons to Bangladesh to stand trial.

Pallab Bhattacharya, New Delhi

Bangabandhu’s writ runs in East Pakistan

On this day in 1971, the whole of Bangladesh was in a state of ferment.

With each day passing by and with the central government of General Yahya Khan paralysed by the non-cooperation movement led by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, it was obvious that the state of Pakistan was fast reaching a point of no return.

In Dhaka, the residence of the Awami League chief turned into the real seat of political authority, with crowds of professionals, cultural figures, students and all other categories of citizens constantly making their way to Dhanmondi Road 32 to affirm their support for the democratic cause.

In West Pakistan, except for a handful of rightwing politicians, all political quarters kept up the demand for a quick transfer of power to the Awami League as a way of preventing a political division of the country.

And in East Pakistan, which by now had become Bangladesh de facto, the authority of the central government as well as the provincial administration had dwindled into non-existence except in the cantonments. Offices, businesses and other establishments spontaneously conducted themselves under the direct authority of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The directives issued on a day to basis by the Awami League were articulated by Tajuddin Ahmed, general secretary of the party. At the universities and other educational institutions, militancy went up by leaps and bounds, the clear message being that there was no way out of the crisis except through full sovereignty for Bangladesh.

In the province, curfew was imposed in Rangpur while the security forces and the army resorted to shooting in Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna and Tongi. In Dhaka, the National Awami Party led by Prof Muzaffar Ahmed pledged its full support to the Awami League in its movement. The regime decides to take its soldiers back to the barracks.

There was yet no sign of the regime stepping back in favour of a negotiated settlement with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A vast majority of Bangalees, however, expected Bangabandhu to declare independence at his scheduled March 7 rally.

Suspense hung heavy in the air.

Author : Syed Badrul Ahsan

Bangabandhu, in sublime oratory

The die was cast. On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the Bangalee nation across the political Rubicon. At a time when the nation and observers abroad expected him to make a unilateral declaration of Bangladesh’s independence, he trod a fine line and made it clear to the world that while he was not about to announce a UDI, he was leaving no one in any doubt that the Bangalee nation was headed for political freedom. In a speech which encompassed the history of Pakistan over the preceding twenty three years, Bangabandhu spelt out in brief and yet great detail the many ways in which the people of East Bengal had been denied their political and economic rights by successive governments of Pakistan.

And then Bangabandhu came to the immediacy of the moment. Referring to the political crisis caused by the theatrics resorted to by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, followed by the postponement of the national assembly session, which again was followed by General Yahya Khan’s invitation to political leaders to a round table conference in Rawalpindi, which subsequently was rejected by Mujib and then a rescheduling of the national assembly session for March 25, Bangabandhu spelt out his preconditions before his party could join the session. Altogether these conditions were four in number: one, martial law would have to be withdrawn by the regime; two, an inquiry must be initiated into the killings of Bengalis by the Pakistan army since the beginning of the month; three, the army would have to be taken back to the barracks; four, power would have to be transferred to the elected representatives of the people.

But a probable fulfillment of the demands, as the Bengali leader pointed out soon enough, was no guarantee that the Awami League would join the session. Bangabandhu merely told the million-strong rally at the Dhaka Race Course that he would see if he could or could not join the national assembly session. He left the door open for negotiations with the regime and yet gave out the very strong message to his people that independence was the eventual goal for them. It was oratory at its sublime as Bangabandhu concluded his address. “This time the struggle is for emancipation”, he declared. “This time the struggle is for independence.”

March 7, 1971 was to change the course of history for the people of what would soon be a free, sovereign Bangladesh.

Author : Syed Badrul Ahsan