Hiren Pandit : The killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not just a murder, on August 15, 1975, the reverse journey of the newly independent Bangladesh began, which was achieved through a long struggle and a blood-stained liberation war. The Illegal military forces seized power by overthrowing the civilian government of the country, destroying the spirit of the liberation war, democracy and the constitution, and since then the history of illegal and illegitimate rule has been written. On August 15, 1975, not only Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was assassinated, but the then Awami League government was not overthrown, the sovereignty of the people of Bangladesh was taken away through that incident. Through this, the people’s rights, their will-power and judgment in changing the government were denied. In fact, on August 15, 1975, democracy itself was killed in Bangladesh.
On August 15, 1975, an organized coup killed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib and his associates and ousted the Awami League government. After that, they made the President at the point of a gun, formed the Cabinet, formed the government and completely dismantled the Constitution and brought the entire country under martial law with super constitutional authority.
The military dictatorships of General Zia and Ershad, respectively, were able to continue in this country for 15 years because the nation was forced to accept the unfair competition of August 1975. If the August 15 coup was prevented as illegal, more than two dozen coups would not have happened one after the other. There would not have been so many murders one after the other. The country was not under military rule for 15 years.
Just a few days after Bangabandhu’s assassination, The Guardian wrote on August 28 that through the events of August 15, the people of Bangladesh had reverted to Ayub’s period of religious propaganda and military rule for political purposes. A few years after the tragic events Time magazine also said that the democratic period ended after the August 15 uprising and the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib.
Meanwhile, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad himself mentioned in his first speech as the head of the government that was formed through the August 15th coup was not constitutionally valid. On 15 August 1975, Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad became the president after the assassination of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family. On this day, he gave a speech on radio and television to the nation as the head of the government and president who seized the power of martial law.
On August 16, 1975, the daily Ittefaq published news about this. In his speech, Mushtaq mentioned that the responsibility of the government as the President has been entrusted to him by relying on the prayers of the merciful to carry out the sacred duty of realizing the right and true aspirations of the 7.5 crore people of Bangladesh as a whole and collectively.
However, he said, although the change in the governance system of the country is desired by all quarters, as it is not possible according to the law, the military has to come forward to change the government. In this speech of Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed, however, another claim was made, the army also worked for this change and expressed unwavering support, loyalty and trust in the government. However, it is yet to be revealed whether the entire army was involved in the conspiracy and coup. Many people think that he himself gave the certificate of illegality to his own government saying that change is not possible according to the law.
Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmad was forced to resign as President on November 6, 1975. Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem took office as President. However, the government under Khandaker Mushtaq or Abu Sadat Sayem was not legitimate at all. Both of them came to power in completely illegal ways. Following this, Ziaur Rahman and Ershad took power later. The High Court in 2010 overturned the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution and ruled Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed, Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, Ziaur Rahman and Hussain Muhammad Ershad as illegal power grabbers.
With the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975, the politics of assassination, coup and conspiracy started in the country. Various conspiracies started after August 15, 1975 to distort the consciousness even in the liberation war. In non-communal Bangladesh, there was a resurgence of fundamentalist politics in Pakistani ideology.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu, there was no distinction between right and wrong in the country. Military rule lasted for 15 years. Various political activities are suspended. Common people lose their basic rights. The right to vote and rice was imprisoned in the army camp. A tendency to usurp power by unconstitutional means prevailed in the country.
The killers did not stop killing Bangabandhu, they also distorted the history of our great liberation war. Bangabandhu’s contribution to the War of Independence has been downplayed and attempts have been made to erase his name from history. Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech could not be aired. Ziaur Rahman’s name was promoted instead of Bangabandhu’s name as the herald of independence. By killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, not only a person was killed, but an attempt was made to kill the liberation war. Those who wanted to make Bangladesh Pakistan were behind this murder. The poison tree of Pakistani communalism was planted through this killing. Bangladesh still has to bear its responsibility. An attempt has been made to kill the liberation war by killing Bangabandhu. The Pakistani-US blueprint was implemented through this murder. Pakistani communalism began to spread.
During the Liberation War, Khandaker Mushtaq negotiated with the US Consul in Kolkata to form a confederation with Pakistan. After the independence of the country, the pro-confederations continued to play a role under the leadership of Mushtaq. Mushtaq-Confederation murderer Majors got the help of Ziaur Rahman.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the killer group first targeted our constitution gained through the liberation war. Kills our national principles. It can be understood that by killing the individual Bangabandhu, their main objective was to kill our constitution and the ideals of the liberation war. All this was done by those who did not want Bangladesh at all. Pakistan was in their hearts. Through Bangabandhu’s assassination, the country took a reverse course. All the supporters of the liberation war were marginalized socially, economically and politically.
The values of Bangladesh were killed by killing Bangabandhu. After that, communalism and the moral degradation that was created, are still suffering the consequences. Now we are doing education and women’s policy, but various compromises are being noticed in these areas. By killing Bangabandhu in 1975, the status of Bangladesh as the winner of the liberation war has been ruined. The Liberation War of Bangladesh was not a separatist movement. Its aim was to free the country from the hands of religious military rulers and build a democratic power. In 1975, that dream was shattered. We are truly doomed.
Bangabandhu tried to speed up the education movement. Nationalized primary education and gave the right to education. Today this flow of education has become commercialized. After his assassination, the spread of the non-communal spirit through education was stopped. We have come a long way from secularism. The poison tree of communalism was planted through the assassination of Bangabandhu. We still have to bear its responsibility.
15 August 1975, it was said that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would come to Dhaka University on that day. Go back and see the university campus. He was once expelled from this educational institution. He supported the strike struggle of the university’s low-paid employees for their just demands. Organized solidarity student strikes and directly stood by them. This was his ‘crime’. Almost three decades after this incident, Dhaka University was ready to receive the expelled Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with respect.
Preparations started quite some time ago to welcome Bangabandhu. All the buildings, courtyards and premises of the campus were well decorated and colorful in the mood of the festival. It was said that after entering the campus, Bangabandhu would visit the Martyrs’ Shrine next to the Central Mosque of the First University and offer a floral wreath there. Then he will go to Jagannath Hall and the Slaughterhouse there, via Shahidullah Hall and Fazlul Haque Hall. After that, he will spend some time with the teachers and university authorities and address a function in the TSC auditorium. Bangabandhu’s arrival at the university was a big commotion all over the campus.
But behind the scenes, a crooked and violent conspiracy was being organized. The conspirators were not weak. They had international support. They successfully completed their preparations on the occasion of mass disunity caused by the government’s various failures, serious mistakes and deviations. Bangabandhu’s generosity, extreme indifference to personal security, and how terribly barbaric the enemy had become.
The August 15 massacre was a heinous crime in terms of humanity, morality, law and social standards. But this assassination was also a traitorous political crime. First of all, it is because, on that day, the president of the country, the great leader of the liberation war, the founder of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu was killed. On that day, the murderer Mushtaq self-declared himself in the seat of the late president in violation of the constitution.
The most important thing to say in this case is that the character and the message of the Bangladesh state were turned upside down through the barbaric killings of August 15. The main achievements of the liberation war were hit. Even in the state of Pakistan, the countrymen did not fight a liberation war in 1971 to establish a separate state with the same character and characteristics after coming out of the geopolitical structure. The liberation war was not a ‘separatist’ effort. There was no liberation war to split Pakistan into two and create a second Pakistan in its eastern half. Our great liberation war was a ‘national liberation struggle’. It was the culmination of the entire struggle of the people for several centuries. It was a ‘people’s war’. Bangladesh was founded on a new policy-ideal-characteristic-basis by adopting Pakistani ideology, socio-economic policy and political character. All the essence of this overall mass struggle and the character of the newly established state was embodied in the 1972 constitution. Especially democracy, secularism, nationalism and socialism – i.e. the 4 state principles described in that constitution.
Along with Bangabandhu, the assassination of August 15 was also the basic foundation of the state as described in the 1972 constitution. By killing the leader of the liberation war, the spirit and style of the liberation war was also violated. By ‘an order’ first Mushtaq and later military rulers Zia and Ershad changed the basic character and basis of the 1972 constitution. The principles of secularism and socialism were excluded from the Constitution. The blood of three million martyrs and the product of many ages of mass struggle, the spirit of the Great Liberation War was embodied in the Constitution of 1972, which reversed the Pakistani communal and exploitative policy and style.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a research fellow