3rd November Jail Killing

An attempt to create a vacuum in politics


Eighty nine days after the brutal killing of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, four of his ardent followers who led the war of liberation were killed in the Dhaka Central jail on November 3, 1975. 

The killers did not feel safe to keep those four leaders alive who refused to join the illegal regime of Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed and killed them in the central jail. 

Since they were imprisoned in jail, they were to stay there safely. But the reality is otherwise. Killers were sent to the jail to assassinate the four national leaders in the dead of night. It is said that the illegal president Khandaker Mushtaque from Bangabhaban asked the IG prisons to open the gate for the killers violating the law of the land to assassinate those who could have been his rival. 

The second opinion is that the man who had been orchestrated the entire event from behind, ordered Mushtaque to execute his order just to create a condition in which Zia could pave his way to go to power. The apprehension was if the four leaders were kept alive, people could raise voice in future against the assassination of the Father of the Nation.

In fact, it was found that even 82 days after the assassination of Bangabandhu, Khanadaker Mus­taque could not manage the members of parliament whom he promised to tone down even keeping the parliament functional. He tried to convince the MPs to support him to run the government. First time only 42 MPs met him and in the second time MPs were forced to see him at Bangabhaban. But the situation went absolutely went out of his control. One MP asked him why he killed Bangabandhu.

Just after the killing of Bangabandhu, Mushtaque killed four national leaders in jail and decided to approach the MP’s to convince them to justify Bangabandhu’s killing. The parliament was kept alive for 82 days. Then the constitutional provision was, `if the president is absent for any reason, the speaker would carry the function of presidency’. 

Although the parliament was there, none did try to assert the constitutional position. First time some 42 members met Mushtaque and in the second time 262 members did so. Probably Mushtaque thought that since Bangabandhu has been killed with almost all the members of his family, the members of parliament would accept him as their leader to run the affairs of the state and the parliament as well. But in the second time when most of the MP’s met Mushtaque at Bangabhaban, they charged why he did kill Bangabandhu? In fact, there was pandemonium at Bangabhaban and there was no room to fill that Mushtaque would be able to consolidate his position. 

In reality, the decision to put Gen. Zia to Mushtaque’s position was taken then. In order to fulfill this mission, all that happened from November 2 to November 7 i.e., killing of the 4 national leaders and coup d'état staged by Khaled Mosharraf. Gunning down of a good number of freedom fighters, arrest of Zia and then release with the help of the so called Gano Bahini, the Sepoy-Janata Biplob- all that happened to put Zia to power who were doing everything from behind. 

In fact, Gen. Zia was the key person who conspired all along to make Bangladesh neo-Pakistan. Killing of Bangabandhu on 15th August could not achieve its objective if the killing of 4 leaders in jail was not done on November 3.  After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the enemies of independence got united under the leadership of Gen. Zia. The purpose was to destroy all that had been earned through the war of Liberation. The usurpation of power by Gen. Zia was in fact to negate the achievement of independence. 

The constitution was changed, the four cardinal principles were altered, the nationality was deformed, the victory slogan Joy Bangla abandoned and the very secular character of the constitution changed. Zia proved that what he did in 1975 and subsequently for six and half years was obviously to fulfill the objective of the counter revolution. If in 1971 there was a revolution by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib to attain our independence and to achieve socio-economic and cultural salvation then certainly the counter revolution of 1975 was to reverse all that were earned through the war of Independence. 

Many intelligentsias today dis-approve the occurrence of a revolution in 1971, so the counter revolution is not recognized by them. But if we judge the socio economic realities of Bangladesh during 1971 to 1975 compared with the realities from 1975 to 1996 it would be evident both revolution and counter revolution in Bangladesh were reality. 

The killers felt that August mission would be incomplete if these four national leaders remained alive in jail. So, in order to create a political vacuum in the country, they killed the four national leaders so that there could be no disturbance in future. Consequently, General Zia ruled for six years and Ershard for 9 nine years almost without any major trouble following the tradition of Pakistan. These two generals thought that the newly independent Bangladesh that got freedom at the cost of 3 million Bengalis had to face such grim political tragedy.

We should not think that the brutal killing of August 15 at road number 32 and the killing of November 3 in central jail are independent phenomenon. The counter revolution that did occur in 1975 is still continuing because the enemies of independence had not accepted their defeat even now, they are trying to annihilate Sheikh Hasina physically. The example is August 21 grenade attack. Zia is no longer alive, but the forces of reactions are continuing their evil efforts. The forces of counter revolution are very much active in the field of politics of Bangladesh. Since they cannot go to power through polls, their only objective is to destabilize the country. 

The outstanding performances of Sheikh Hasina as the leader of the people leading Bangladesh to the peak of glory has always been a source of discontentment for them. So in the recent restlessness we have seen how the so called opposition of the country is trying to disturb all out development activities undertaken by the government of Sheikh Hasina. They do not believe in democracy. They would not participate in the election even if it is a fair one. Their only mission is to prove that there could not be any free and fair election under Sheikh Hasina. It is really difficult to bring order back to Bangladesh in the face of the irresponsible opposition who had been persistently trying to make a fall of the incumbent government. Power is their only objective. 

They do not feel for the mass. They do not have any respect for the constitution. They do not care for the fundamental rights of the people. What they want is power absolutely for their interest by any means. 

The government is really in problem to deal with such irresponsible opposition. They are blind. They don’t see the light of development. They are retrogressing in character and their aim is to go back to darkness. It seems government has to make sufficient arrangement to build a healthy opposition in the country. 


Dr S A Malek is former political advisor to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, General Secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and a Columnist