A daughter’s long road to justice

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ppgj, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    A daughter’s long road to justice
    Nupur Basu December 3, 2009

    [​IMG]
    THY NAME IS COURAGE: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photo: Haroon Habib

    Sheikh Hasina had to wait for three-and-a-half decades to see justice done in her father’s case. She can now concentrate on delivering on the issues that are on the front burner.

    For Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Supreme Court verdict sentencing five former army officers, accused of assassinating her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to death is a delayed but sweet retribution. It has been a long road to justice for the daughter of the Father of the Nation. She has had to wait for three-and-a-half decades to see justice done. The architect of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 was assassinated on August 15, 1975.

    Civil society, the media — both radio and television — and a majority of newspaper editorials were quick to welcome the final verdict.

    Delivered amid high security by a five-member Bench of the Appellate division, there was consensus that the judgment was a step towards setting the nation’s history right.

    Black hole

    For the first 21 years after the killing, the case went into a black hole due to an indemnity ordinance promulgated by President Khondker Mushtaque Ahmed to shield the killers. It was only in 1996, when the Awami League was elected back to power, that Parliament disabled the Act and Mujibur’s personal secretary filed a first information report to press ahead with charges against his assassins.

    The Bangabandhu case again took a back seat during the Bangladesh Nationalist Party regime of Khaleda Zia and the subsequent caretaker government. It is only after Sheikh Hasina romped home with a convincing victory in December 2008, did hopes of getting justice for the assassinated leader brighten up again. With the pronouncement of the verdict, Sheikh Hasina can now seek the political closure of her personal tragedy and concentrate on delivering on the issues that are on the front burner.

    Violence and counter-violence have become a way of life in the subcontinent and Bangladesh is no exception. The mutiny on February 25 and 26 in the headquarters of Bangaldesh Rifles (BDR) in Dhaka by jawans resulted in a bloodbath. Disgruntled over low wages and alleged abuse and misuse by their superiors, the jawans went on a killing spree, gunning down the Director-General of BDR and his wife, and dozens of top army officials. The death toll is reported to be 148.

    Coming as it did just two months after she took charge as Prime Minister, the mutiny left Sheikh Hasina, the Awami League, and the people of Bangladesh stunned. Sheikh Hasina showed great courage in personally going to the BDR headquarters and facing the enraged army officers who were baying for the jawans’ blood. She took them on at a free-for-all post-mortem meeting (all captured on YouTube and beamed to millions) and assured them that justice would be done, but only after a proper inquiry was conducted.

    During a visit to Bangladesh in May, I spoke to several journalists and members of civil society who praised the courage that a shocked and shaken Sheikh Hasina showed following the mutiny.

    Bangladesh is impatient to move on. It wants the Awami League to deliver on its promises after getting a resounding verdict in the last election. Neither the last caretaker government nor the graft-ridden regime of Khaleda Zia delivered on its promises. There are huge expectations from Mujib’s daughter.

    Heavy price

    Sheikh Hasina is aware of the price she has had to pay for being out of power. Last summer, on her way back from London, she was suddenly informed at the airport that the caretaker government had barred her from returning to Bangladesh. For the next few days, she stayed in a rented flat in London with her sister and lobbied tirelessly with the media, the British and American MPs, and the Bangladeshi community in Britain. Finally, the caretaker government relented and she boarded the flight to Dhaka like a heroine.

    A woman whose father fought for the liberation of her country could not be deterred by political rivals. The entire episode turned out to be bad publicity for the caretaker government and a great boost for Sheikh Hasina, who was headed for an election. She won handsomely a few months later.

    The trial of war criminals is one of the issues that is occupying mind space in Bangladesh. Civil society is keen that it be conducted in a transparent and just manner. Several Jamaat leaders are in the list of accused and this has led to further polarisation of opposing camps. There is a new effort at retelling the sacrifices of the martyrs of the liberation struggle, in which three million lives were lost. Efforts such as building Liberation War Museums are on.

    Sheikh Hasina has a huge stake in reviving the liberation patriotism to counter the anti-liberation forces. After all, it is the elements of patriotism that remember the sacrifices her father made for the country.

    A background paper distributed during a meeting to plan a new Liberation Museum in Dhaka which I attended this year read: “It is an effort at connecting our present with our past. An effort at telling ourselves that it was indeed a war to uphold a distinctly different culture that this nation has, as opposed to the so-called two-nation theory on which the theocratic state of Pakistan was based. A nation cannot be born for the sake of a particular religion alone.”

    Rabindranath Tagore’s 147th birth anniversary celebrations peaked in public spaces and on the many Bengali television channels in Bangladesh. In comparison, the media coverage on Tagore in India pales into insignificance.

    But apart from attempting a Bengali cultural and social revival, there is pressing business to be attended to. The problem inherited by all of South Asia ails Bangladesh too — of home-grown terrorists. So in this very crucial term of office, Sheikh Hasina is a Prime Minister with a mission. She has made it very clear that she will move against forces — referred to as Jongis (terrorists) in Bengali — that support terrorism on Bangladeshi soil.

    ‘Fight or perish’

    Supported by an experienced Home Minister Sahara Khatun and a young, hands-on and media savvy Minister of State for Home Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj, Sheikh Hasina has put the fight against counter terrorism on top of her government’s agenda. The popular saying in Bangladesh these days is: “Fight terrorism or perish like Pakistan.”

    Tracing the missing grenades and weaponry after the BDR mutiny remains a major area of concern for the Awami League, lest they fall into the wrong hands within Bangladesh or across the border in India or Pakistan.

    The arrest of ULFA mastermind Arabinda Rajkhowa in the country last week and his handover to India this week demonstrate that the Hasina government is determined not to allow Bangladeshi soil to be used as a safe haven for terrorists.

    The global recession too has fuelled social problems. It has meant the huge migrant workforce of Bangladeshis abroad being shown the door and repatriated back home. It is estimated that by year-end, one lakh workers may be forced to return to their country.

    Sheikh Hasina’s new slogan is the dream of a “Digital Bangladesh.” The Prime Minister is keen on shoring up Information Technology and knowledge-based industries in Bangladesh to address joblessness, and is reported to have channelled 4,900 crore Bangladeshi takas to establish such industries.

    The slogan may be ridiculed by frustrated cabbies trying to negotiate the car through thousands of rickshaws on Dhaka’s mindboggling streets. But for millions of middle-class students passing out of the country’s universities, it offers a ray of hope for a safe, self-reliant and modern Bangladesh 38 years after it gained independence.

    (Nupur Basu is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker.)

    The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : A daughter’s long road to justice
     
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  3. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Death penalty upheld in Mujibur Rahman murder case
    Haroon Habib Dhaka, November 19, 2009

    The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has upheld the High Court verdict confirming death sentences for 12 former military officers in the assassination of Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

    A five-member bench dismissed the appeals filed by five of the convicts in the "Bangabandhu Murder Case" on Thursday.

    The five convicts - sacked Lieutenant-Colonel Syed Farooq-ur Rahman and Lieutenant-Colonel Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Lieutenant-Colonel Muhiuddin Ahmed, Lieutenant-Colonel A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed and Major Bazlul Huda (all retired) - who are now behind bars filed the appeals with the apex court in October 2007 against their conviction by the lower court. The judgment, which comes 34 years after the assassination, also confirmed the death sentences of absconding killers Colonel Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Major Shariful Haque Dalim, Lieutenant-Colonel A.M. Rashed Chowdhury, Lieutenant-Colonel SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Captain Abdul Mazed, and Risaldar Moslemuddin (all retired). They are understood to be hiding abroad, including the United States, Libya and Pakistan.

    "The nation has got the justice," said chief state counsel Anisul Haq. Counsel for the convicts Abdullah Al Mamun said they would submit a review petition with the Supreme Court within the stipulated 30 days after receiving the copy of the judgment. The apex court judges pronounced that the incidents of August 15, 1975 were a simple murder .

    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then President, his wife, three sons - one nine years old - and the wives of two sons were gunned down by a group of disgruntled army officers. Two daughters of Mujibur Rahman — Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana — survived the massacre as they were abroad.

    The Hindu : News / International : Death penalty upheld in Mujibur Rahman murder case
     
  4. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sheikh Hasina chosen for Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
    Sandeep Dikshit NEW DELHI, November 19, 2009

    The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs.25 lakh and a citation, will be presented to her at a function to be held at a later date.

    Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been chosen for the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development this year.

    The selection was made by an international jury, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust said in a statement.

    Ms. Hasina was chosen for her “outstanding contribution to the promotion of democracy and pluralism, her determined drive to alleviate poverty and secure social and economic justice for her people through inclusive and sustainable development, and her consistent commitment to peace,” the statement said.

    Ms. Hasina “promoted peace by resolving a long-standing insurgency [problem] in Bangladesh by concluding the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. Her global commitment to peace was manifested by her initiative that resulted in the adoption of the first-ever resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the Culture and Peace,” it said.

    The assassination of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, and other members of her family in 1975 transformed her life and “the political landscape of Bangladesh. A number of attempts on her life and subsequent imprisonment only strengthened her resolve to restore democracy, peace and political stability in her country,” the statement said.

    The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs.25 lakh and a citation, will be presented to her at a function to be held at a later date.

    Ms. Hasina is to visit India next month and is likely to sign a couple of landmark agreements that would strengthen ties between New Delhi and Dhaka.

    The Hindu : News / International : Sheikh Hasina chosen for Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
     
  5. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Time for india to use what someone called"soft power" to help bangladesh, the GOI should encourage companies like TCS,Infosys and Cognizant to outsource some business to bangladesh as well, we may lose money but we will gain millions of friends in bangladesh. NIIT and other firms like it should be given incentives to open traning centres in bangladesh.
     
  6. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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  7. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    bangladesh's father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

    more about him here - Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman- The Father of The Nation of Bangladesh

    SPEECHES

    DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

    "This may be my last message, from today Bangladesh is independent.

    I call upon the people of Bangladesh, wherever you might be and whatever you have, to resist the army of occupation to the last. Your fight must go on until the last soldier of the Pakistan occupation army is expelled from the soil of Bangladesh and final victory is achieved."

    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
    26 March 1971

    The people of Bangladesh have proved to the world at large that they are a heroic nation, they know how to achieve their right and live like human beings.

    We have achieve our independence. So long a Bangali lives, he will not allow this independence to be lost. Bangladesh will continue to exist as an independent country in history. There is no power on earth which can keep Bangladesh under subjugation.

    Bangabandhu

    Those who cannot maintain law and order cannot expect to be a great nation.

    Independence is not achieved with the hoisting of the flag only. Ensuring the security of people's lives and property is also an inseparable part on independence.

    It is only through agriculture revolution that the country would become self-reliant in food. The farmers must see to it that not an inch of the country's soil remains fallow and that the yield of the land is increased.

    Bangabandhu

    I have waged the independence movement of Bangladesh along with seven and a half crore people. So I appeal to the people to put an end to the activities of antisocial and disruptive elements.

    My dear brothers of armed forces, you belong to the people and people belong to you. You do not form a separate entity. All of you are sons of the soil. This is why you will have to share the happiness and sorrow of the masses and stand beside them in rebuilding the devastated country. Allah is with you.

    Our defence-preparedness is not meant to attack anyone. It is for self defense only. We are not willing to interfere into other's internal affairs. Similarly, we shall not tolerate other's interference into our internal affairs.

    Bangabandhu

    The martyrs who gifted the independence of the country will never die. The souls of the martyrs will be contended only when the people of this independent country, established through the sacrifice of the martyrs, will get enough to eat and live a dignified life.

    Depending on borrowed resources no nation can ever expect to become self-reliant and great.

    I have made appeals to the world for help. I want help. But not at the cost of independence.

    Armed forces alone cannot defend a country. It's people who defend a country.

    It is clear today that only democracy will work in future in this country.

    Bangabandhu
     
  8. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mujibur’s killers execution in a month

    Haroon Habib, DHAKA, January 5, 2010

    The five condemned prisoners ordered to be hanged by the court for assassinating Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 might be executed in next 28 days, according to the jail officials.

    The court issued the death warrants for the five jailed convicts in the nation’s sensational murder case.

    Dhaka district and sessions judge M. Abdul Gafur issued the death warrants in line with the Appellate Division verdict that upheld the High Court’s judgement endorsing the death sentences of 12 former army officers who assassinated Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and all but two of his family on August 15, 1975. One of the surviving daughters of Mujibbur Rahman is Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister.

    Verdict

    The death warrants for sacked lieutenant colonel Syed Faruque Rahman, retired lieutenant colonel Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, retired lieutenant colonel Muhiuddin Ahmed, retired lieutenant colonel A.K.M. Mohiuddin Ahmed and retired major Bazlul Huda reached the Dhaka Central Jail on December 3.

    After a protracted legal battle, the five judges of the Appellate Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court on December 17 signed the complete 412-page verdict of the case, clearing the way for starting the process for the execution of the five convicts in jail, while six convicts are still hiding outside the country and one already dead. The five-judge bench on November 19 unanimously pronounced an order, dismissing all five appeals filed by the death row convicts upholding the High Court verdict.

    According to the law, the five condemned prisoners might be executed in 28 days, but not before 21 days following the issuance of the death warrants. They, however, have a last resort — to petition the Appellate Division seeking revision of its verdict or to seek presidential clemency.

    The Hindu : News / International : Mujibur’s killers execution in a month
     
  9. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hasina honoured with Indira Gandhi award

    PTI, New Delhi, January 12, 2010

    [​IMG]
    Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina receives the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize from President Pratibha Patil during a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

    Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on Tuesday honoured with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development and said the two countries should work together to achieve peace and progress in South Asia.

    “We want to have good and friendly relations with all our neighbours. We must work for a South Asia where peace, harmony and progress will prevail. Till we achieve this, our struggle will continue,” she said after accepting the award from President Pratibha Patil.

    Recalling her association with Indira Gandhi, an emotional Ms. Hasina referred to the gruesome assassination of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 18 other family members and said, “We had nowhere to go at that time. Our government then did not allow us to return to our homeland.”

    “It was Indira Gandhi who gave us shelter. We took political asylum and stayed in Delhi for six years,” she said, adding that Indira Gandhi was “truly like our mother.”

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Bangladesh’s voice was today heard with respect in international fora and India was honouring “not only a great daughter of Bangladesh but a distinguished world leader.”

    UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said a peaceful, secular and democratic Bangladesh was India’s “wish and hope and we have no doubt that under your (Hasina) leadership it will be realised.”

    The award carries a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh and a citation.

    The Hindu : News / National : Hasina honoured with Indira Gandhi award
     
  10. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mujib killers executed

    PTI, DHAKA, January 28, 2010

    Bangladesh tonight hanged the five ex-Army officers, convicted for assassinating the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, almost three decades after he was killed in a military coup.

    Bangladesh tonight hanged the five ex-Army officers, convicted for assassinating the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, almost three decades after he was killed in a military coup. The five death row convicts were hanged past midnight (local time), hours after the Supreme Court rejected their review plea, jail officials said.

    The process to execute the assasins of Sheikh Mujib, the father of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, began one minute past midnight and ended in 40 minutes time, they said.

    Earlier, 61 close relatives of the five condemned men met them for the last time and the son of one of the convicts was brought from suburban Kashimpur Central Jail where he himself was detained to see his father.

    The relatives said jail officials had asked them on telephone to come to Dhaka Central Jail immediately to meet the death row convicts before their execution.

    The developments came within hours after the Appellate Division of the apex court pronouncing its last verdict rejecting the five convicts’ petitions seeking a review of their death penalties, exhausting their last legal option.

    Law Minister Shafique Ahmed had said after the verdict that the execution might take place any time by January 31.

    The five convicts who were hanged after a trial that dragged on for 13 years are sacked lieutenant colonels Syed Faruq Rahman, Sultan Shariar Rashid Khan, Mohiuddin Ahmed (artillery) and AKM Mohiuddin (lancer) and sacked major Bazlul Huda.

    Bangabandhu was killed along with along with his wife and three sons in the August 15, 1975 putsch.

    Jail officials said Dhaka’s district magistrate and deputy commissioner Zillar Rahman, civil surgeon Dr Mushfiqur Rahman and additional district magistrate Avijit Sarkar entered the jail before midnight along with Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General Ashraful Islam as their presence were required during the hanging.

    They said top home ministry bureaucrat or home secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar and Dhaka’s police commissioner AKM Shahidul Haque also came to the jail just ahead of midnight.

    Elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) troops, armed police battalion and plainclothesmen took positions around the jail complex reinforcing the regular police.

    Witnesses said a police van reached the jail gate carrying five wooden coffins while another private van came to the scene with two wooden bedsteads which were likely to be used to for ablution of the bodies after the execution.

    Earlier in the day, a four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Tafazzul Islam pronounced the verdict after three days of hearing for five of the 12 convicted ex-military officers, who were in prison.

    A total of 28 people, including domestic staff, were killed when a group of junior army officers stormed Bangabandhu’s private residence in a pre-dawn swoop.

    http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article95787.ece
     

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