HM Ershad laid to rest in Rangpur

Former president and Jatiya Party Chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad was laid to eternal rest at Palli Nibash in his hometown Rangpur on Tuesday. Earlier, a Bangladesh Air Force helicopter carried his body to Rangpur from Dhaka. The helicopter landed at Rangpur Cantonment at around 11:30am. His last and the fourth namaj-e-janaza was held at Central Collectorate Eidgah at around 2:28pm on the day. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the janaza.

Jatiya Party acting Chairman GM Quader, Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga, former Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawlader and Ershad's son Rahgir Al Mahi Shad Ershad, among others, accompanied the body. Military men carried ex-army chief Ershad’s coffin, draped in an Army flag, to the grave yard at around 5:35pm. Later, a life sketch of the Jatiya Party chairman was read out before observing a one-minute silence in honour of the deceased.

Army personnel supervised the burial process in presence of Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Jatiya Party acting chairman and Ershad’s brother GM Quader, his relatives and party senior leaders. His first janaza was held at the Army Central Mosque in Dhaka earlier on Sunday while two other janazas were held on Monday at the South Plaza of the National Parliament and in front of the Jatiya Party office in city's Kakrail. His qulkhwani will be held on Wednesday at Gulshan's Azad mosque in Dhaka.

A press release signed by Khandakar Delwar Jalali, deputy press secretary of JP chairman said, expressing heartfelt gratitude to the people of Rangpur for their emotion, love and respect for Ershad, his wife Rowshan Ershad gave consent for the former president’s burial in Rangpur. Rowshan Ershad also requested for keeping a land for her own burial beside the grave of Ershad, Jalali said.

Earlier, on Sunday, the day Ershad died, JP leaders had said that he would be buried at Banani military graveyard in Dhaka. But, JP leader and also the Mayor of Rangpur City Corporation, Mostafizar Rahman and other local leaders had raised voice for Ershad's burial in Rangpur. Ershad, a former military strongman and five-time MP, breathed his last at 7:45am on Sunday while undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka. He died at the age of 89 years.

The former army chief Ershad took over the state power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and subsequently ran the country for eight years until he was forced to quit in a pro-democracy mass upsurge in 1990. Despite being imprisoned subsequently on several charges, Ershad, however, retained his stake in politics and elected to parliament five times, once contesting from the prison.