By scanning the news dailies published from Dhaka, I came to the conclusion that there is a sense of great relief in the minds of the people of Bangladesh after the delivery of the judgment on Bangabandhu murder case by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on November 19, 2009. People irrespective of their political ideology welcomed the verdict without trying to bring in the issues of governance, administration, and economic condition during the days after the independence of a war-torn country. It can be said that old habits die hard for a tiny few, who wholeheartedly support the killers/conspirators of Bangabandhu and his family members.
At different times in the past, these caviling characters tried their best to bring up issues that were not fixable so easily in a country that underwent a long nine months of destruction because of a war against the Pakistani occupation force. The difficult condition caused by the destruction and killings of the brutal Pakistani force and their pet Razakars and Al Badars are seldom highlighted by these deceptive writers, some of whom claim themselves to be researchers. A section of the censorious fault-finders has started again to pick holes in Bangabandhu’s coat even at a time when the whole nation has breathed a sigh of relief and is eagerly looking forward to hearing the news of the execution of the killers.
Unfortunately, the detractors are not allowing the people of Bangladesh to have the sense of relief that they deserve after a long wait since the trial began in 1997. The esoteric “research-based” essays on the issues centering the killing of Bangabandhu are intended only to misguide and create miasma among gullible segment of the civil society of Bangladesh. They used this futile and worn-out technique for a long time since August 1975. A few of them are trying again to create confusion by soft selling the killing actions of a few criminals. One of such researchers named Mr. Taj Hashmi wrote his distorted views at bdnews24.com ( http://opinion. bdnews24. com/2009/ 11/25/1975- the-crime- and-verdict- in-retrospection/) on the killings in August 1975 and the subsequent trial of the killers after long 34 years.
In his write-up, he highlighted a few of the issues: (i) declaration of one-party (BKSAL) government, (ii) events of 1975 was a mutiny or a random instance of killings by a few criminals, and (iii) establishment of rule of law as an outcome of the trial of the killers of Bangabandhu. Critics like Mr. Hashmi bank on the declaration of BKSAL frequently in their writings. They do not want to consider that the aim of BKSAL was to unite all the people of Bangladesh in one platform in a country where armed terrorists were out to establish various forms of socialism (e.g. scientific and Maoist forms). The defeated pro-Pakistani Razakars, Al-Badars and the conspirators were also active to destabilise the government and finally to undermine the independence of the newly born country. Under a desperate and critical scenario, Bangabandhu wanted to unite all including the academicians and government officials.
I read many times that Bangabandhu wanted to welcome educated people in politics for getting input from them for the development of the new-born country. It is relevant to mention that in the USA, a government employee can be a member of a political party and can take part in political activities to a great extent. As a pragmatic leader, Bangabandhu envisioned that the progress of Bangladesh lied with the contribution of all including the educated mass of the country. Unfortunately, researcher Mr. Hashmi did not want to go deep into the context and condition prevailing at the time in a war-ravaged country. It was not a mandatory but a voluntary option to join BKSAL. Even in my wild imagination, I cannot fathom out how Mr. Hashmi was humiliated and frightened on the question of joining BKSAL.
The second issue of interest for Mr. Hashmi is the one of calling the killings of August 15, 1975 a mutiny. What he is trying to achieve by bringing the issue of mutiny vs. random killing is not clear. Let’s agree, for the sake of argument, that the killing of August 1975 was a “Sepoy (soldier) Mutiny.” Was there a provision in the constitution for the soldiers to go for a mutiny if they decided at a certain point of time to do so for any reason whatsoever? In any civilised country, any such unruly acts would be treated as treason and severely dealt with. There is no room for the disciplined soldiers/officers to become unruly and kill the President, his wife, sons, daughters-in-law, and many others. It is sad that a former faculty of Dhaka University can go so low and try to portray the cowardly killings of unarmed individuals (including pregnant women and children) as a mutiny.
There is no denying that the economic condition in 1974 was precarious due to countrywide flood, oil embargo, and international/ national conspiracies against new-born Bangladesh. Despite all these, the people of Bangladesh had confidence in Bangabandhu and in his vision for the progress of Bangladesh. There was no mass demonstration to topple his government like the ones in 1969, 1990, 1996, and more recently in 2006/2007. So, the portrayal of the killings in 1975 as a mutiny is just a disinformation campaign by a few, who supported martial democracy as practiced for a long time in Pakistan. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court did not accept the arguments of the lawyers of the killers on mutiny, as echoed also in Mr. Hashmi’s write-up.
Mr. Hashmi is skeptical about the establishment of the rule of law with the final verdict from the Supreme Court on Bangabandhu murder case. I think no-one believes that the law and order will improve sharply following the execution of the killers. This trial and execution will act as a stern warning to the potential killers and their patrons about the consequence of the heinous crimes. It is my understanding that the trial of Bangabandhu murder case itself is a demonstration of the rule of law. To establish and enhance the rule of law, all the killings including the killing of Siraj Sikdar should be investigated and tried. One should not forget that Siraj Sikdar believed in, practised, trained, and provoked his followers to kill people (including police and other armed forces) by labeling them as an enemy-class for establishing socialism. No-one can deny that these were basically the acts of terrorism. In fact, those who lost their near and dear ones in the hands of Siraj Sikdar’s party cadres should come forward and seek justice. I hope Mr. Hashmi would support all the victims of the terror acts done by Siraj Sikdar’s disciples.
A group of captious intellectuals tried hard to undermine the emergence of civilian rule in Bangladesh under the leadership of Bangabandhu. The cynicism of these intellectuals caused a bit of confusion among a group of young men and women in the 70s and 80s. In all probability, these intellectuals did not like the civilian rule that was established as a consequence of the break-up of military dominant Pakistan. So, they tried to create doubt about the leadership of Bangabandhu in terms of governance, administration, and foresightedness. It is my belief that many researchers will appreciate his vision and policies at present and in years to come. Certainly, we are indebted to him as a nation for leading us out of a ‘mullah-military-based country’ called Pakistan.
The signs are clear that Bangabandhu will be portrayed quite positively for his dedication, love, and sacrifice for the people of Bangladesh. A few detractors are trying on the Internet to create some controversies with their ad hominem write-ups but without any noticeable success. Their esoteric write-ups are definitely destined to the recycle bin of history. These intellectual charlatans cannot fool all the people all the time.