Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Bangabandhu Murder

Mark Tully hints at int’l conspiracies

Mark Tully hints at int’l conspiracies

Veteran former BBC journalist Sir Mark Tully finds it unusual for those planning the 1975 coup without building up international connections though the US, especially its intelligence station chief in Dhaka at that time denied any involvement.

Tully who covered the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 made the remarks while looking back the 1975 brutality, reports UNB.

The webinar titled ‘Shockwaves of Assassination: South Asia 1975’ held on Tuesday night reflected on the country’s dark chapter that unfolded with the killing of Bangabandhu and nearly his entire family in August 1975.

Earlier, Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi in a separate programme said that there were at least seven plots and a long conspiracy behind the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family on 15 August 1975.

Bangladesh will stay secular and grow economically, said the journalist.

Participating in a CRI-organised webinar, the legendary journalist and author said Bangladesh's amazing economic turnaround, its secularism and its inclusive growth are the great achievements which struggled at birth with the devastation of war.

Tully said Bangladesh's amazing economic turnaround will continue and it would remain on the right path. Elaborating the 'right path', he said, "I hope Bangladesh will remain secular as it is now. I am secular and I wish Bangladesh will remain secular."

Tully is also effusive in praise over the connectivity initiatives between India and Bangladesh.

"I went to a Darjeeling boarding school, s     o when I hear a train will now connect Siliguri with Dhaka, it makes me very happy." 

Tully said bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India are excellent at the moment, but they would hit a new high if the Teesta water sharing agreement is signed.

Tully took a long look at the relations of the two countries.

"India was very unhappy with the assasination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members, and relations nosedived sharply. But with his party and daughter back in power, relations with India has improved sharply. There are problems and there will be problems but the relations are basically very good," Tully told the webinar.

Offering a glimpse into the post-1975 scenario of the country, Tully said there were different streams – one stream was pro-Western economic way, anti-socialist, anti-Indian, and also there was a… what I may call…… an Islamic stream as well.”

He said the movement for Bangladesh started immediately after the birth of Pakistan.

"Language is a very emotive issue and Jinnah made a huge mistake by trying to impose Urdu on East Pakistan. The resistance was natural and it snowballed into a movement for independence," Tully said in his presentation.

He said it was in the fitness of things that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed the UN in Bengali as the leader of a Bengali nation.

"You can see how Hindi and opposition to imposition of Hindi becomes a big issue in many parts of India."

Tully emphasised that Bangladesh remaining secular and its economic growth assumes significance in view of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Religious moderation, according to Sir Tully, holds the key to national rejuvenation and economic growth. "What better example than Bangladesh!"

The indemnity act formulated in 1975 to protect the assassins of the Father of the Nation has no precedence in history, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam.

“It’s hugely embarrassing for the country. It left a rather long-lasting impact and they were given access to the state secrets in subsequent years," he said.

The State Minister said: "The killers made friends overseas and obviously that made our today’s job difficult locating them as we have a job to bring back the remaining killers and make them face consequences according to the court verdict.

Shahriar Alam also praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for keeping her faith in the country’s legal system instead of resorting to a speedy trial.

“Imagine you are the country’s Prime Minister and you know exactly who killed your father, your mother, your three brothers, sisters-in-law, and other relatives. Still, you have all the right to arrange a speedy trial or form a special court."

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not do that but she waited and trusted the legal structure of Bangladesh and waited decades to start the trial.

In between the speeches, the webinar also featured some immediate reactions of global icons to Bangabandhu’s assassination.

“Bengalis can no longer be trusted after the killing of Sheikh Mujib,” as observed by Nobel Laureate Willy Brandt, was one of them.

CRI is working for drawing youths closer to history by presenting it in different forms of storytelling.

Mujib Graphic Novel (narrating for kids the heroic and humanitarian aspects of the father of the nation), Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale (a docudrama narrating the struggle of Hasina as a daughter of Bangabandhu following his assassination), and Joy Bangla Concert (the country’s biggest concert paying a tribute to the 1971-Liberation War) are few of them.