Days of Darkness, Unmaking of Bangladesh

Dr. Akhter Hussain

15th August, 2020 12:07:43 printer

Days of Darkness, Unmaking of Bangladesh

 

 

August 15, 1975 was the darkest day for Bangladesh and its people and a crime committed against the humanity as well. Bangladesh has gone through many ups and downs and dark events in the close to half a century of its sovereign existence. But August 15, 1975 has been the most shameful one having profound consequences for the future of the country and its people. The killers did not stop there. To complete their task, in early November of the same year, they killed the four national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain M. Monsur Ali and AHM Quamruzzaman who refused to toe their heinous lines of the conspirators inside the Dhaka Central Jail at the order of Khandokar Mustaq Ahmed, the chief conspirator, who declared himself as the President of the Republic flouting the provisions of the Constitution. The jail killing was done with the sole intention of removing all kinds of oppositions to their disdainful evil grand designs by the close associates of Bangabandhu.

August 15, 1975 was the darkest day for Bangladesh and its people and a crime committed against the humanity as well. Bangladesh has gone through many ups and downs and dark events in the close to half a century of its sovereign existence. But August 15, 1975 has been the most shameful one having profound consequences for the future of the country and its people. The killers did not stop there. To complete their task, in early November of the same year, they killed the four national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain M. Monsur Ali and AHM Quamruzzaman who refused to toe their heinous lines of the conspirators inside the Dhaka Central Jail at the order of Khandokar Mustaq Ahmed, the chief conspirator, who declared himself as the President of the Republic flouting the provisions of the Constitution. The jail killing was done with the sole intention of removing all kinds of oppositions to their disdainful evil grand designs by the close associates of Bangabandhu.

In fact, the killers of Bangabandhu did not only kill the great leader but also wanted to kill the spirit of the nation for which the country was created with the supreme sacrifices of the people. The killers were also successful in this sphere as the subsequent governments that assumed the state power after the assassination of Bangabandhu tried to implement similar disdainful designs to shape the destiny of the nation. A bar was imposed with the promulgation of the infamous ‘Indemnity Ordinance’ to try the killers of Bangabandhu and others. Later the Ordinance was included in the 5th amendment to the Constitution. The chronology of events and developments in the political sphere over the years after the murder of Bangabandhu revealed the ultimate hidden agenda of the conspirators. These started unfolding from the morning of the 15th of August, 1975. Whatever was achieved through the Liberation War, the murderers and the conspirators tried to dismantle or erase them for good. It was declared in the radio that the very name of the country was changed as the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh. They also renamed Bangladesh Betar as the Radio Bangladesh. These were done with the evil intension of reviving the legacy of Pakistan and erase the achievements of the Liberation War from the minds and psyche of the people. It is alleged that efforts stealthily were mooted to revive relationship in some form or other with Pakistan disregarding the supreme sacrifices of the millions of people. The illegitimate usurpers of the state power brought the country under the Martial Law from that of constitutional rule that was in existence then in line with the practice prevalent in Pakistan. The whole purpose was to turn Bangladesh into another Pakistan or its extension in the eastern part of the subcontinent.

In the cloak of the martial law proclamations, the illegitimate governments tried to erase the high ideals of the Liberation War. They even amended the preamble of the Constitution which enshrined the supreme will of the people as stated as “a historic struggle for national liberation, established the independent, sovereign People's Republic of Bangladesh; pledging that the high ideals of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in, the national liberation struggle, shall be the fundamental principles of the Constitution;”. Amendments were also made to the fundamental principles of state policy that stated, among others, “The principles of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism, together with the principles derived from those as set out in this Part, shall constitute the fundamental principles of state policy.” In this way, the egalitarian character of the Constitution was destroyed. Besides Constitutional amendments, the murderers and their later beneficiaries made every effort to rehabilitate the war criminals and the pro Pakistani political elements that fought alongside the Pakistanis to kill people and foil our liberation struggle. The legal process to try the Pakistani collaborators who were charged with specific war crimes like murder, rape and arson were stopped and released under general amnesty. The religion based politics which was banned after the Liberation War was lifted and allowed to participate in the political process of the country. These were done to serve a number of purposes. Firstly, to rehabilitate the defeated forces including the war criminals so that they become a support base of the new political parties formed under the patronage of the military rulers by joining rank and files of those political parties. Secondly, all of these religion based parties would together oppose with extreme vengeance the Awami League, the political party that led the Liberation War on every issue whether right or wrong. Thirdly, these rehabilitated religion based political parties will resort to all means in making the Liberation War and the subsequent independence of the country questionable. Fourthly, these elements will bring in disunity within the nation and divide it permanently into different and fundamentally opposing lines that would ultimately thwart the development of the country. Finally, it was perceived that if the above stated factors or elements work together Bangladesh would ultimately turn into a failed state.

As such, the ultimate beneficiaries of the assassination of Bangabandhu and overthrow of his government were the anti- liberation forces. They achieved all their evil goals and targets with the help of the military rulers who themselves were believers of those and also badly needed their so called political support for their existence in power. In the process, the ultimate losers were the freedom loving people of the country. Their vision of a country based on egalitarian principles and values abandoned and discarded, instead the country took a U-turn in the negative direction to serve the purpose of the conspirators and the defeated forces of the liberation war. These unconstitutional evil forces ruled the country for quite long time. The people started to lose hope that their rights would be established again and the country could ever be made free from the clutches of the evil forces who did not have any respect for the supreme sacrifices of the people made for establishing a democratic and egalitarian country where all will enjoy equal rights and freedom with opportunities to develop themselves and the country.  

(The different sources of information are acknowledged with gratitude)

The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka.


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