A shameful black August night

Pradip Kumar Dutta

In 1973 World Summit of Nonaligned movement, world's leading figure of proletariat and a great fighter of the masses Comrade Fidel Castro has said,"I have not seen the Himalayas but I have seen Sheikh Mujib." When they parted after the non aligned summit in Algiers,he whispered into Bangabandhu's ears,"Comrade,take good care of yourself." But the leader of our Nation, it's founding Father,was unperturbed. He had many warnings and signals from various sources, intelligence and friendly Nations including India that there were conspiracies going on and he should play safe. But he was of firm belief that he was the Father of the Nation. Being a true patriarch and being loved by all and sundry,nobody will ever think of causing any bodily harm to him in his liberated Bengal. He pardoned most of the offenders rounded up for collaborating with the Pak army, save and except those,who were charged with war crimes,rapes,arsons and genocidal activities. The freed criminals were in hundreds of thousands. Then there were the Pak supporters belonging to different parties including different factions of Muslim League,Jamat e Islami,PDP,Nezam e Islami,etc. Even in 1970 elections that Bangabandhu's Awami League swept,all these anti AL forces polled close to 30 per cent of the votes. Even, just after emergence of the new Nation,a section of ultra active students and citizens formed JSD to push for Scientific Socialism ,a utopian idea for that time. And yes,at times,they turned violent. So danger was creeping up from many corners. Bangabandhu's assumption that all Bengalis loved him was terribly wrong. This country never had a shortage of traitors like Mirzafar. The last nail to the coffin was the gift consignment of 44 tanks from a friendly Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Mujib for strengthening Bangladesh artillary. First Lancer units were being formed with those tanks. They turned their barrels towards Bangabandhu and his possible supports to take the lead in annihilating the Father.

The war torn country was in a disastrous condition with broken down infrastructure,empty exchequer and shortage of food and commodities. Not enough experienced staff were there to efficiently run the Government. There were traitors all around. But facing all odds Bangabandhu was making slow but steadfast stride towards rebuilding the country. Meantime,domestic and international conspiracies were afoot. Bangabandhu's excess faith in his own Bengali people proved to be shockingly wrong. Taking advantage of his vulnerable security situation in his official residence a coup de etat was hatched by a section of  misled Bangladesh army personnel. The key role was played in this coup by the Egyptian tanks. Bangabandhu was brutally annihilated together with his family save his two daughters Sheikh Hasina,the present Honourable PM of Bangladesh and her sister Sheikh Rehana. They survived the carnage as they were abroad. Many of Bangabandhu's close relatives were also killed. The savage killers of the armed forces did not spare ladies of the family. Even Sheikh Russel,the kid son of the Leader was mercilessly killed. Modern day Mirzafar Khondkar Mushtaque Ahmed who all along had shown signs to be anti progressive took the reigns of the country. History was tried to be reversed. The killings happened on the 15th of August,which is a black day in the country's history. It is well understood that many politicians,senior military officers and foreign forces were either involved or strong supporters of the killings and coup. Immediate support to the illegitimate new Government by political,civil and military leaders and immediate recognition of Bangladesh by many countries who had so far denied the same is a proof.

Of course,there were protests,agitations,demonstrations and even armed resistance to the new regime. But that was way too feeble to dislodge them. If leading political,civil and military figures,who were pro Bangladesh and pro Bangabandhu could act with strong back bone,the history of the country could have a different shape. Still,reserch has to be done about the resistance and participants should be recognised.

The country had a 21 years of bad patch of history contradicting it's main objectives for which it was formed after a blood smeared War of Liberation. However,when Awami League came back to power,the culprits of 15th August murder of Bangabandhu wete brought under justice. Other killings,crimes against humanity,wartime crimes also came under trial. 

Better late than never. 

The killers of Bangabandhu and his family were given prize Government postings after the coup and at some point of time they boasted about their misdeed naming it as heroism. Finally some of them went to the gallows and others are fugitives at different ends of the world running to save their lives.

We would like to see all of them apprehended and face their trial sentences.