Vol. 5 Num 80 Sun. August 15, 2004  
Front Page

Nation mourns Bangabandhu's killing today

The nation today observes the 29th death anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder father of Bangladesh, amid a long drawn out uncertainty whether and when the trial of his killers will be completed.

On this day in 1975, Bangabandhu and his family members, excepting two daughters -- Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana -- who were fortunately abroad at the time, were brutally assassinated by a splinter group of the armed forces.

Sheikh Mujib, born on March 17, 1920 in Tungipara of Gopalganj district, played the pioneering role in the country's struggle for independence. His highly emotive final call on March 7, 1971 -- 'Ebarer songram - amader muktir songram; ebarer songram - swadhinotar songram' -- inspired and united the entire nation for the Liberation War.

The BBC Bangla Service listeners this year adjudged Sheikh Mujib as the greatest ever Bangalee.

Main opposition Awami League (AL) enforces a six-hour hartal today from 6:00am to 12:00noon across the country protesting the revocation of state mourning on the day and demanding immediate execution of the verdict on the killers of Bangabandhu and his family members.

In November 1998, the trial court awarded death sentence to 15 people accused of the murders, but the High Court later spared three of them. The case is still pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which is short of one justice for forming a three-member division bench required to hear the leave to appeal petition.

The situation can be corrected if the government appoints a judge to the Appellate Division on ad hoc basis. But, according to informed quarters, possibility of such a move by the present government is almost nil. The case is unlikely to resume until March 2007, when the present chief justice will retire paving the way for a new judge to be appointed in the Appellate Division.

Today the national and the party flags will be flown at half-mast at all offices of the AL and its front organisations. The party will also hoist black flags everywhere in observance of the day, which was officially observed as the national mourning day during the AL's stay in power from 1996 to 2001. But the BNP-led coalition government, after coming to power in October 2001, scrapped the day's official status.

AL President Sheikh Hasina, also the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, along with her party colleagues will place wreaths at the portrait of her father at 12:31pm at the Bangabandhu Museum. Similar programmes will be held at Bangabandhu's grave in Tungipara.

The party also will distribute food among the flood-hit people today.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Hasina in a statement on the eve of the day called for united efforts to restore the spirit of Liberation War, rule of law, human rights and secular social beliefs and to institutionalise democracy.

Jatiya Oikya Mancha headed by Dr Kamal Hossain will hold a discussion this afternoon to observe the day.