Dateline 3 November 1975. The chill of the winter morn increased many fold when the people heard the news of the brutal murder of four front ranking national leaders namely, Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, Capt. M.Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman inside Dhaka Central Jail by the same group of army personnel who had assassinated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August, 1975.
A great conspiracy was being hatched behind the veil of darkness since the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The initial exuberance and excitement of the killers had vaporized within a month when they sensed that their counter groups in the defence forces were taking preparations to oust them from their fortress and try them in a court of law for killing Bangabandhu along with many others.
A counter coup was organized by Brigadier Khaled Musharraf and he seized state power along with his loyal men in the defence forces. In a frantic negotiation, it was decided that the assassins (Faruk-Rashid gang) will be sent into exile overseas. But no one could imagine in their wildest dream that the heinous killers were hatching another plot for bloodbath. The cold-blooded assassins decided to kill the four national leaders in their cells in the Dhaka Central jail before boarding the midnight plane. All the four leaders were shot at close range and bayoneted by army personnel in the most brutal fashion.
Eye witnesses said that two jeeps full of soldiers had come before Central Jail at night and asked the sentries to open the large gates. But the sentries telephoned the jailor to come to the scene. The jailor, on arrival, refused to open the gates without a proper order from the highest authorities. An officer called from the wireless set and then gave it to the jailor. The jailor listened for about a minute and said, “Yes, Sir. Ok, Sir.” He ordered the sentries to open the gates and asked one of them to take the army men to the cells where the four national leaders were kept.
Minutes later they heard the sound of gunfire and wailing of the victims. Seconds later it was all quiet. Four of the best sons of the soil were silenced forever by the brutes who never accepted the birth of Bangladesh. In the eastern sky the glow gave the message of the rising sun and a new but sad day for the people of Bangladesh.
The story of the great ‘War of Liberation’ of Bangladesh would remain half done without adding some chapters on the work of the four national leaders. All the four leaders had played key role in organising the Liberation War against the Pakistani occupation army from the beginning on 26 March, 1971 till victory was achieved on 16 December 1971.
They had steered all leaders and workers successfully to Meherpur in Kushtia on 17 April, 1971, and after a series of meetings and deliberations, it was unanimously decided that a provisional government would be formed immediately to start a guerrilla type resistance fight against the Pakistani army and open a diplomatic front for the purpose. The following democratic decisions were taken in the meeting. The government would be known as ‘Mujibnagar Government’. That Syed Nazrul Islam would be the vice-president and acting president of Mujibnagar Government, the first government of Bangladesh.
Tajuddin Ahmed- would be the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He was a former finance minister and a member of parliament. Abul Hasnat Muhammad Qamaruzzaman, also a member of parliament would be the Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation in the Mujibnagar government.
Another trusted comrade of Bangabandhu, Capt. M. Mansur Ali – would be the Finance Minister of Mujibnagar government.
No doubt Bangladesh has lost forever four most brilliant politicians and political brains. So, the nation eagerly waited for divine intervention so that justice would finally be served.
After a long legal battle in a respected court, the killers were given death sentence. Accordingly, in 2009, Syed Faruque Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda and A K M Mohiuddin Ahmed were executed for their direct involvement in the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The persons who received capital punishment included:
Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor of Bangladesh Post