A leader they were ready to die for

After the brutal killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975, some mid-level leaders of Jatiya Chhatra League, the student front of then Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL), had tried to organise an armed retaliation against the assailants and their masters.But, their attempt ended in vain for lack of leadership amid a very hostile political climate across the country created by the then government headed by Khondoker Mushtaque Ahmed, one of the traitors who was among the masterminds to plan and execute the assassination of the country’s founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family members in the night of August 15 with the help of some errant army officers.

That failed attempt is still haunting the then mid-level Chhatra League leaders, who are now living a ordinary life with their business and/or service at home and abroad to earn bread for their families.
This reporter talked with some of them who recalled Bangabandhu with tears and sigh of despair on the eve of this 15th August; while the nation is set to step into the 41st year since it had lost its greatest leader, the best-ever Bangalee of million years.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is widely known as the dreamer and architect of Bangladesh. He fought for independence against the Pakistani fascist government and spent 14 years in jail in view of nurturing the hope of
freedom-seeking people of then East Bengal, and finally, brought independence by leading the liberation war in 1971.
But some of his own people in whom he had the deepest trust took his life in a bloody coup at the darkest night of August 15, 1975. The traitors were motivated by the defeated forces of the liberation war.
“He (Bangabandhu) was scheduled to join a reception programme hosted by Dhaka University on that day (August 15, 1975). Early in the morning, our gatekeeper tried to awake me by the news that he (Bangabandhu) was assassinated. I could not believe it at first. I turned on the radio immediately and heard the news,” said Mobarak Hossain, who was Bangabandhu’s son Sheikh Kamal’s follower and elected secretary of Dhaka Commerce College Chhatra Sangsad, in tears when recalling the brutal killing. “In shock… I was slower to react… my thoughts became hazy… and, I did not know what to do.”
Mobarak’s family lived at their own residence at Noyatola (Moghbazar) in the city. He said he tried to go out, but armoured tanks were patrolling all the streets, creating a frightful milieu among the citizens.
Md Yunus Mia, then Dhaka city unit Chhatra League library secretary and student of Dhaka College residing at the dormitory, first heard of the news of Bangabandhu killing from a college peon in the morning. He then went out and tried to reach Dhanmondi-32, but presence of army personnel in armoured tanks made him to pull back from Kalabagan Krira Chakra playground, opposite the residence of Bangabandhu.
“I saw around hundred people gathering at a corner of the playground next to lake, just opposite Bangabandhu’s residence, and looking around with shock and helplessness,” he said.
“People gathered there were whispering that the army was conducting raids at the AL party offices and houses of Awami League and Chhatra League leaders across the city. So, I deiced not to disclose my identity and left the place for safety with the hope of finding our party mates.”
“A nightmare was haunting me, and I kept rushing from places to places, but the news of the arrest of Tofail and Razzak bhai and other top leaders made me very disappointed,” he said, adding, “There was no way to communicate with others.”
According to Yunus Mia, they had managed to meet some Chhatra League leaders at a secret gathering at the house of Awami League well-wisher Mamtaj Hossain at Paltan in the city. Chhatra League central committee’s foreign affairs secretary Diponkar Talukder, central committee leader Nasim Osman, City unit president Syed Nurul Islam Nuru (who went missing after going to Tora district of India’s Meghalaya), city unit leader Motahar Hossain Molla (who later become president of the city unit, but his whereabouts is unknown now), the then city unit leader Samim Md. Afzal (now director general of Islamic Foundation), Gopalganj Sarkari Bangabandhu college Chhatra Sangsad elected general secretary Golam Mostafa Khan Miraz (now residing in the US), Chhatra league leaders from Bogra Nojibur Rahman Nihar and Rezaul Baki and many others were present at the secret gathering. They were desperately looking for a way to retaliate.
“The raging Mushtaque government was looking for us everywhere. But we visited Tripura twice through Akhaura border to seek help from the government there to prepare for an armed retaliation. We met Tripura state-unit Congress secretary Amar Sen Gupta alias Razu Gupta. When we met him for the first time, he advised us to find a senior leader like Tofail or Razzak bhai to organise the movement,” Yunus Mia said.
“How we could take them to Tripura since they were put behind bars. But, we didn’t give up. We went to Tripura again. Razu da then sent us to Kader Siddiqi, who was already in Tora district in India and getting prepared for an armed revolt against the Mushtaque government.”
Yunus Mia goes on, “We received training there under Bangladesh Jatiya Muktibahini. The headquarters was located at Chandbhui area in Barigapara under Tora district. In November 1975, we were sent for deployment along the border from Rangpur to Sunamganj and fought the army inside Bangladesh for months. By this time, the Indira Gandhi government was replaced by Morarji Deshai-led Janata Party in India. After that, all rations, financial and ammo support to us have been stopped. Our mission ended in despair.”
Later in 1977, Yunus Mia, Mobarak Hossain and Miraz returned to the country only to be arrested by the law enforcers. They languished in jail for about six months and suffered physical and mental torture.
“Meanwhile, the Mushtaque government was thrown out of power and Ziaur Rahman took the power. Major Zia was one of the masterminds behind Bangabandhu’s assassination. In 1978, we attacked President Ziaur Rahman during a programme at Dhaka University. I left the country for Dubai immediately after the incident, and returned to the country after Zia’s death,” Yunus Mia said.
“I don’t know whether the history will be written with our stories or not. But, what we are telling now remained untold for long,” said US resident Miraz, who is now in Bangladesh for a short visit.
They said Bangabandhu is the most iconic inspiration to millions of young Bangladeshis towards building a poverty-free country and ensuring education and healthcare for all and achieving the middle-income status by economic and technological advancements.
Bangabandhu’s successor, his daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is trying to do so with the dedication to serve people of the country, they said.
“The young generation perhaps does not know well how Bangladesh came where it stands now. I don’t even know whether they will try it,” said Mobarak Hossain, who is now serving as a general manager at the head office of state-owned Agrani Bank.
“But, it is true that this country stands on a pool of blood of Bangabandhu and hundreds of thousands of Bangalees who sacrificed their lives for the country,” he said.
Monirul Alam

Daily Sun, 15 August, 2015, Link