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Bangladesh plunges into mourning Bangabandhu on his 40th death anniversary

28Bangladeshis have opened the door to painful memories as they mourn the founding father who was abruptly and brutally taken away from them four decades ago.

It was on Aug 15 that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated by a group of junior army officers with almost all members of his family at his home.

Neither the president’s 10-year-old son Sheikh Russel nor nephew Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni’s pregnant wife Arzoo Moni could escape one of the bloodiest political assassinations the world has ever seen.

Moni, too, was killed that night as catastrophe befell the fledgling nation.

The others included Bangabandhu’s wife Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, brother Sheikh Naser, brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal.

The president’s Military Secretary Bir Uttam Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmed, who rushed to the Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi 32 on receiving SOS from him early in the morning, was also slain.

Besides the government, ruling Awami League, several other political parties, and scores of social and cultural organisations will be marking the 40th anniversary of the death of the independence hero on Saturday.

The day – a public holiday – will begin with lowing the national flag at half-mast at all government, semi-government and autonomous organisations, educational institutions, private establishments and Bangladesh missions abroad.

Programmes will start by paying tributes at Sheikh Mujib’s mural in front of Bangabandhu Bhaban at 32, Dhanmondi early in the morning.

The Awami League will also fly the national flag at half-mast and hoist black flag at each of its offices across the country at sunrise.

President Abdul Hamid in a message said the group of killers was ‘in connivance with anti-liberation forces’.

“The aims of the killers were not only to kill Bangabandhu but also to annihilate the ideals of the War of Independence and reinstate the defeated forces,” the president said.

But they could not wipe out the principles and ideals of Bangabandhu, he added.

Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister who now heads the Awami League, and her sister Sheikh Rehana were abroad during the Aug 15 killings.

Hasina in her message said the killers’ target was to ‘destroy the non-communal democratic fabric of Bangladesh’.

She also renewed the call for turning the grief into strength.

Bangladesh has so far hanged five of the 12 condemned-to-death killers, though after 34 years of the killings. It took a 21-year wait to file a case after Awami League came to power in 1996.

The killers could not be tried earlier because Bangladesh’s first military ruler Gen Ziaur Rahman indemnified the self-proclaimed killers.