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B’desh PM pays homage to ‘Bangabandhu’ on National Mourning Day

It was after 21 years that when Sheikh Hasina came to power in 1996, the nation heard the 7 March 1975 speech of Mujibur Rehman publicly.

IANS | Dhaka |

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina marked the National Mourning Day paying tribute to her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of the country’s independence on his 46th death anniversary.

Hasina placed a wreath in front of his portrait at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi Road No 32 in Dhaka.

The premier then stood in solemn silence for some time showing profound respect to the great leader.

A smartly turned out contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces gave a state salute at that time, while the bugle played a tune of grief and somber to the last post.

Bangabandhu, his spouse Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, his three sons-Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, and Sheikh Russell-his three close relatives and other members of his family were assassinated in cold blood on the night of 15 August 1975, by a group of disgruntled army men.

Bangabandhu daughters, Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, escaped the slaughter as they in Germany at that time.

After paying tributes to Bangabandhu, the Prime Minister visited the historic residence of Father of the Nation at Dhanmondi Road No. 32 where he and his family were slayed.

Sheikh Hasina stayed in the house, which has now been turned into Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, for a while.

From Dhanmondi, the Premier visited the Banani Graveyard where her mother Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, brothers Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, and Sheikh Russel and other martyrs of 15 August were laid to rest.

The Prime Minister placed wreaths and spread flower petals on their graves.

The then government of General Zia-ur Rahman desperately worked to protect Bangabandhu’s 12 killers.

Zia continued with their foreign postings instead of bringing the killers home and trying them for the heinous crime that they had committed.

Even when one of them returned and instigated indiscipline in the armed forces he was handled with kid gloves and never held accountable.

One of his most ignominious actions was the Indemnity Act, which gave constitutional protection to the self-proclaimed killers and made it impossible for any legal action to be taken against the pro-claimed killers.

Zia was assassinated in Chittagong Circuit house. The then Army chief Gen Hossain Mohammad Ershad grabbed power and followed the policy to appeasing the killers. He made no attempt to bring the killers to justice, never touch the Indemnity Act.

Khaleda Zia’s first government 1991-96 followed meticulously the line set by her late husband Zia, strongly supported the killers against the liberation movement.

Distortion of history started from August 1975 into full force and the Goebbels of the world stood reincarnated in their devilish best.

During Zia’s time, suddenly the genocide-perpetrating Pakistan army was replaced by the word “Hanadar Bahini” (marauding force) in history books, school books, and official narratives as those responsible for the killings of the millions.

Also, attempts were made to establish the independence movement was triggered by one radio announcement.

Nothing much happened before Zia came onto the scene.

Decades of struggle since 1948, the Language Movement, the anti-martial law movement, the six-point movement, the 11-point movement – everything had to be removed, distorted, downplayed only because of Bangabandhu’s essential and central role in them.

Bangabandhu’s iconic speech, which is now a part of the world intellectual heritage and which played such a crucial role in inspiring the nation and motivating the freedom fighters in the field, did not exist for them and the 7 March speech did not happen for those in power from 1975 to 1996.

On the first evening following Sheikh Hasina’s assumption of power in 1996 when, while in office, suddenly people heard Bangabandhu’s speech over the radio.

It was after 21 years that, the nation heard that speech publicly.

People overwhelmed with emotion, memorised the historical moment of the magical day, 25 years earlier, when millions of freedom-loving people had gathered at the Race Course Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan) of Dhaka.