Jail Killing: Another Dark Chapter in the History of Bangladesh


Published on November 2, 2021
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3 November is another day of reproach and agony for the collective conscience of Bangladesh. On this day in 1975, the four national leaders, who played the momentous role in our independence and state-building struggle after the Father of the National Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were brutally killed inside what is usually considered one of the most sacrosanct places for security of any individual, the safe custody of a jail. Within the bounds of Dhaka Central Jail, in a continuation of the horrors unleashed on 15 August 1975, the four national leaders, Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain M. Monsur Ali and AHM Quamaruzzaman, were murdered viciously with bullets and bayonets

The aim of the killers were simple. Following the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, these four posed the biggest threats to their aspirations of turning back the progress Bangladesh made as an independent country and to dilute the spirit of the Liberation War. They were not even afforded the courtesy of a sham trial. The killers went inside Dhaka Central Jail unhindered and finished the job they started on 15 August 1975. Known to be the most honest and capable of all political personalities in Bangladesh, who could not be bought or coerced, the killers knew that these extraordinary gentlemen needed to be taken out for the realization of their nefarious design of throwing Bangladesh into a trajectory radically different from that which was envisaged by its Founding Father.

The enemies of our independence and the liberation war, not only were just satisfied after shooting them with bullets but they stabbed these fine men brutally with their bayonets mutilating their dead bodies. This undoubtedly hindered the nation from going towards the pathway of progress and prosperity. This brutal killing not only made the people of Bangladesh stupefied but also the people of whole world. The killing of Bangabandhu and these four national leaders were part of the same conspiracy.  

The killers and their associates in fact wanted to take revenge of the partition of Pakistan, to throw the nation towards the black-hole of genocide and conspiracies which just emerged as an independent nation through bloodshed and supreme sacrifices of millions. A case was filed in this regard at Lalbagh Police Station. But the investigation and trials had been withheld for a long 21 years as was the case for Bangabandhu’s killing as well. It was only after the Awami League came to power 1996 that the process was re-initiated. After a 8 year long procession of this case the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court declared verdict in the last regime of the government of the four party alliances on 20th October 2004. The verdict declared 15 of the 20 ex-army officers to be guilty and released the other 5. Among those convicted, 3 fugitives were given capital punishment and other 12 got life sentences.

The ones who got death sentence were Sentry Marfot Ali Shah, Sergeant Moslem Uddin alias Hiron Khan and LD Sentry Mohammad Abul Hashem Mridha. And the persons who were given life sentence are: Colonel (retd.) Syed Faruque Rahman, Colonel (retd.) Syed Shahriar Rashid, Major (retd.) Bazlul Huda, Lt. Colonel Khondokar Abdur Rashid (suspended), Lt. Colonel Shariful Haque Dalim, Lt. Colonel (retd.) MHMB Nur Chowdhury, Lt. Colonel (retd.) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, Lt. Colonel (retd.) AM Rashed Chowdhury, Major (supended) Ahmmed Shariful Hossain, Captain (retd.) Abdul Majed, Captain (suspended) Mohammad Kismat Hossain and Captain (retd.) Nazmul Hossain Ansar. And the names of the released are: BNP leader late KM Obayedur Rahman, JP leader Shah Moazzem Hossain, ex minister late Taher Uddin Thakur, Nurur Islam Monjur and Major (retd.) Khayruzzaman.

On 28 August, 2008 the verdict of High Court only kept the death sentence of Sergeant Moslem Uddin but released the other two who got death previously. Sentry Marfot Ali Shah and LD Sentry Mohammad Abul Hashem Mridha and the four other convicted who got life sentences: Lt. Colonel (suspended) Syed Faruqe Rahman, Lt. Colonel (retd.) Shahriar Rashid Khan, Major (retd.) Bazlul Huda and Lt. Colonel AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed were also released from the case. Four appeals against the lower court's verdict for the four convicted for life sentence and the death reference resolutions were finalized by a high court bench formed by the judge Nazrul Islam Chowdhury and judge Ataur Rahman Khan and given the new verdict.

Even though the verdict to this case was given very delayed, the family members of the national leaders and various sources dubbed this verdict as 'politically motivated' and 'farcical', and were rejected. They complained, nobody was given punishment for the planning of the conspiracy of the Jail Killing. They demanded re-investigation and re-trial of the heinous massacre.

Although been released in this Jail Killing case, Lt. Colonel (retd.) Syed Faruqe Rahman, Lt. Colonel (retd.) Shahriar Rashid Khan, Major (retd.) Bazlul Huda and Lt. Colonel (retd.) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed - these four among the convicted for death sentence in the case of Bangabandhu assassination case were executed on 27th January 2010. And as the high court verdict didn't have any new remarks about the eight fugitives who were convicted for life are explained to have retained punishment by the lawyers.

As the greater alliance lead by Awami League again came to power on 29th December 2008, the opportunity to re-trial for this Jail Killing were open again. On 1st November 2012, the prosecution submitted a summary of appeal of the case of Jail Killing to the appellate division of Supreme Court, the procession for re-trial has been started again. On 30th April of 2013, the appellate division on a brief verdict has dismissed the verdict given by the high court on 2008 and retained the verdict of 2004 given in the lower court. Which is, the three fugitives, Sergeant Moslem Uddin alias Hiron Khan, Sentry Marfot Ali Shah and LD Sentry Mohammad Abul Hashem Mridha were given death sentences and other 12 were given life imprisonment. The full verdict was released in 2015.