National Mourning Day

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 25 Aug 2018

National Mourning Day
Bangladesh observed August 15 as National Mourning Day. On this day in 1975 the founding father of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was brutally assassinated with all members of his family.

His two daughters – Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana – survived the massacre as they were abroad at that time. The people of Bangladesh lost the iconic leader to whom they owe as much as an independent nation. Even from his confinement in Pakistani jail, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s sway over the Bengali people was such that it constantly inspired and guided them to wrest their independence from brutal Pakistani clutches. His idea of Bangladesh provided the bedrock on which identity of the nation stands now.


Pro-Pakistan Islamist forces, to whom the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country was never acceptable, could not put up with either Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s towering personality or his undisputed leadership of the Bengali people. They somehow succeeded in implementing their sinister designs to eliminate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and deprive the people of the very essence from where they derived their strength and energy.


The sole objective of the Islamist forces, who had earlier unsuccessfully tried to thwart the birth of Bangladesh, was to establish a Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation by eliminating all those opposed to Pakistan-Bangladesh reunion. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was perceived as the most difficult stumbling block and hence he had to be annihilated. Thereafter, four national leaders who were trusted by him were also eliminated in Dhaka central jail in quick succession. As dismantling the new born state would be neither possible nor would it be acceptable to the people, the only option left to them was to annihilate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.


Long twenty one years after the heinous crime was committed, the Awami League led by his daughter Sheikh Hasina came to power in 1996 and August 15 was declared National Mourning Day. But, paradoxically enough, as Awami League went out of power and BNP-Jamaat government took over in 2001, the step was reversed.


Not merely that, Khaleda Zia, after taking over as  Prime Minister for the second time, announced that August 15 was her birth day so that the day can be observed as an occasion for rejoice and merry making. What followed subsequently was a bizarre sequence one would associate with mafia rule and all these were intended to deny Sheikh Mujibur Rahman his due place in history as Father of the Nation.


Against this background of regressive politics the people of the country wholeheartedly welcomed the statement made in 2008 by former Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed, who was the driving force behind the Caretaker Government that ruled the country for two years (2007-08), asserting that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the Father of the Nation.


Then the High Court in a landmark judgment struck down the BNP-Jamaat Government’s move canceling observance of August 15 as National Mourning Day.  The people of Bangladesh have for years been of the opinion that tragic happenings of August 15, 1975 are a blot on human conscience. 


The nation has all along looked at the assassination of August 15 as the darkest period in the history of Bangladesh and the people of the country have repeatedly underscored the idea that men who carried out the abominable killings had to be brought to justice. 


The High Court verdict, striking down the ill-motivated decision (2002) of the BNP-Jamaat Government cancelling August 15 as National Mourning Day, has cheered all right thinking people across the globe. It is a step toward reminding the country as well as the world outside of the collective shame that the people went through when the founding father of the nation was murdered.

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