Hiren Pandit: Experts believe that the intolerant political environment paved the way for Bangabandhu’s assassination. The rise of opposition political forces in the newly independent country, the covert activities of the defeated forces of the 1971s, the rise of extremist left parties, attacks on police stations, bank robberies, murders, etc., left people confused. Operators take advantage of this opportunity. The killers accomplish their goals. After the successful mission, Bangladesh began to be taken backward. Between 1972 and 1975, extreme leftist forces were largely responsible for creating the conditions for Bangabandhu’s assassination. An ideological debate arose over the management of the newly independent country. Awami League leaders considered democracy as their first choice.
US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that America has three enemies outside of it. One is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the other two are Chilean President Salvador Allende and Vietnamese statesman Nguyen Van Thu. His political aim was to overthrow all three of them anyway. Of the three, he was the most dissatisfied with Bangabandhu, as the 1971 War of Independence caused by Sheikh Mujib severely disrupted his plans to build Sino-US relations with the help of Pakistan. Not only that, Bangabandhu had good relations with India and Russia, the political rivals of the US at that time, which was negative for the US. So, he wanted to overthrow Mujib at any cost and establish his own favorable rule in Bangladesh.
The brutal assassination of Bangabandhu was the first direct intervention of some wayward middle and lower-ranking officers and members of the military in the civilian administration-centric politics of Bangladesh. But the subsequent history is different. The assassination is considered an ideological turning point in Bangladesh. Analysts agree it was not just an assassination, but a political motive behind it. The verdict in the murder case briefly mentioned political conspiracy. However, the political motive behind the brutal killing and the involvement of politicians of the time remained unclear even after the trial.
Bangabandhu used to say, I am the Prime Minister of a democratic country. Is it suitable for me to live in an iron house like a dictator? Lakhinder was able to live in an iron house. The snake is in my house. Bangabandhu used to say, I believe in socialism. Also, a nationalist. But now it is not possible to establish full socialism in Bangladesh. If all large, medium and small industries are nationalized now, the government treasury will not be able to fill the money to cover the loss of unprofitable industries. The paper notes should be released in the market. The resulting inflation will endanger the country’s economy.
Bangabandhu knew that there was a conspiracy against him. But the people of the country are conspiring to kill him, it seems that Bangabandhu could not even imagine. At the Commonwealth Conference in Jamaica, the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi stood where Bangabandhu was sitting and said, ‘Sheikh Sahib, we have frightening news. There is a conspiracy against you. Bangabandhu replied, ‘Madam Indira, don’t worry. No Bengali will touch me. If they do, I will return to the village with a cloth around my neck. Sheikh Mujib is not entitled to power.
Political assassinations and military coups require long preparation, careful planning and execution, analysts say. But this conspiracy started in 1971 or earlier. The participation of a small number of insiders and the support of foreign powers facilitates these matters. In that case, if the victim or the target is someone like Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the task may be more challenging as the assassins may have thought. Bangabandhu’s killers planned carefully and were professionally alert. Unfortunately, matters for the murderers Bangabandhu himself never believed that any harm could come to him or his family by any people in this country. Some of Bangabandhu’s well-wishers tried to warn him, but he ignored or avoided their warnings, saying that the people of Bangladesh would never harm him.
Even though Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib knew that there was a threat to his life, he never gave any attention or importance to the matter. He never imagined that the people of Bengal could kill him, despite being repeatedly warned by various individuals and organizations.
According to analysts, it is not at all an easy task that some army personnel will take the father of the nation along with his family and kill unarmed people in tanks and families and also go on radio and television to inform the nation about the killing of Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu was a nationalist leader. He did a lot for the sake of the nation, for the sake of the country, and spent most of his life in jail. Many countries in the Middle East, the United States, China and Saudi Arabia sided with Pakistan in the war. They were also defeated mainly because of the support provided with the defeat of Pakistan in 1971. On the other hand, the Cold War was going on all over the world. World politics was volatile at that time. Bangabandhu was a huge factor in regional politics. Naturally, Bangabandhu was a victim of this cold war. The assassination of Bangabandhu weakened the politics of the subcontinent.
According to researchers, Mujib’s assassination has two dimensions. One is domestic politics and the other is international. None of this came to trial. According to the customary law of the country, Bangabandhu’s murder was tried like ten other murders. Not much has come up regarding the background of Bangabandhu’s brutal murder. The assassins wanted to kill the soul of the state by killing Bangabandhu. Killing the dream of building a nationalist, non-sectarian, democratic, exploitation-free Bangladesh. The four principles of the state are undermined by military rule. Bangabandhu’s murder has been tried. But the conspiracy did not come up in the trial.
After the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975, Awami League had a difficult time. After killing Bangabandhu, his family members were also killed so that no one could take control of the Awami League. For killing Bangabandhu’s ideology, four national leaders of the party were also brutally murdered in jail on November 3. The party leaders were divided into different groups. Some of the senior leaders were betrayed. There was leadership instability. The leadership was cowardly. Some followed the ladder of Bangabandhu’s blood to join Khandaker Moshtaq’s cabinet. Party leaders were arrested all over the country at that time. Inhuman torture is carried out. Their houses and businesses were set on fire. Many activists were killed.
Trinamool (grass-roots) leaders of the party did not give up even though they could not call for the prevention of such tragic events. They wanted someone to come forward to resist. But there was no one to make that call. As a result, Awami League’s politics became difficult. Bangabandhu’s two daughters, the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, have lived a difficult life abroad.
Awami League had the fire of revenge for killing Bangabandhu. Organizational activities began to turn around. Around the then council of Awami League, leaders and activists were strengthened and organized across the country. The session demanded the immediate withdrawal of martial law and the transfer of power to the people’s representatives through general elections. They demanded the release of jailed Awami League leaders and justice for the August 15 murder and jail killings.
After the final victory in the War of Independence, Bangabandhu was released from Pakistani prison and returned to independent Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. He began work on restructuring the country’s constitution, education, health and economy. After independence, the defeated forces, domestic and foreign conspirators started various conspiracies against the country’s economy and politics. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were assassinated on the night of 15 August 1975, when Bangabandhu was the President of independent Bangladesh. August 15 is not only a major disaster in the history of Bangladesh, it is a shameful chapter in the history of the world. The great architect of freedom, Bangabandhu and his wife and children were killed just three and a half years after the independence of the country, which has no precedent in the history of the world.
After the assassination of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu and his family, a shadow of intense grief fell across the world and the venom of hatred spread. After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the people of Bangladesh lost their credibility and integrity as people in the world. Foreigners thought that a Bengali could do any heinous act to kill Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib.
By killing Bangabandhu on August 15, the brave Bengalis presented themselves to the world as a cowardly-suicidal nation and as traitors. By killing Sheikh Mujib, the dreamer of the Bengali nation, the Bengali nation has shown its suicidal character to the world. The spirit of independence was banished by killing Bangabandhu. People think that without Bangabandhu, Bangladesh does not really exist. It can easily be said that the name of the consciousness of the Bengali nation, the name of a dream, the name of the history of creation, the name of aspiration, the name of struggle and the name of success – then its embodiment is Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He is the hero of history. Bangabandhu will forever remain immortal in the hearts of Bengalis. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said that the criminals behind the conspiracy to kill Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be revealed one day. He dedicated himself to realizing Bangabandhu’s unfinished dream of building a hunger- and poverty-free Bangladesh.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher.