416Published on August 21, 2021
Pranab Kumar Panday:
August is considered the darkest chapter in the history of Bangladesh as it was the month in which the two worst incidents took place. On August 15, 1975, traitors assassinated Bangabandhu with most of his family members in a domestic and international conspiracy. The main objective of the assassins on that day was to erase Bangabandhu's contribution from the history of Bangladesh forever. They wanted to ensure that no descendant of Bangabandhu survived on the soil of the country. That is why the killers did not hesitate to kill little Russell. However, their efforts were not successful because Bangabandhu's two daughters - Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana - survived as they were out of the country at the time.
Since Sheikh Hasina returned to the country in 1981, she took charge of the fragile Awami League (AL), which was crushed under military rule, strengthened the party, won the 1996 elections, formed a government, and started the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination, this group of traitors again conspired to assassinate her. When the AL, led by Sheikh Hasina, failed to return to power in the 2001 election, the party was subjected to various government-sponsored tortures since the BNP-led four-party coalition government formed. In continuing these tortures, a grenade attack was carried out on August 21, 2004, at a public meeting on Bangabandhu Avenue to assassinate Sheikh Hasina.
It goes without saying that the most heinous grenade attack was carried out under the auspices of the state to assassinate the then leader of the Opposition in Parliament and the President of the AL. Such attacks are rare in a civilised society. On that day, Sheikh Hasina survived in exchange for the lives of AL leaders and activists, but 24 leaders and activists, including Ivy Rahman, were killed in the attack. About 300 to 400 leaders and activists, including Sheikh Hasina, were injured and still carrying grenade sprinters in their bodies and enduring unbearable pain.
Why this grenade attack is called the most heinous incident? We have already known that this attack was carried out with the knowledge of the then State Minister of Home Affairs. In the aftermath of the attack, we saw the staging of Jorge Mia's play under government auspices. However, the thing that killers never remember is that the truth is never suppressed. The truth will be revealed one day. Following this, we have seen the unveiling of the faces of the masterminds behind the August 21 incident. Through the trial, 19 people, including the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to life imprisonment and 19 others to death in the case. It is never desirable in a civilised and democratic state to carry out a grenade attack by conspiring to assassinate the leader of a political party in order to wipe it out.
If we try to make an in-depth analysis of the 21st August incident, the thing that will become clear is that the masterminds of August 15, 1975, were the main driving force behind this incident. These assassins killed Bangabandhu and his family to ensure that neither Bangabandhu nor any of his descendants could participate in the politics of Bangladesh. However, they forgot that history does not forgive anyone. Since Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana survived, due to staying abroad on that day, these assassins never thought that Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina would return to the country to try her father's murder and execute them.
Ever since Sheikh Hasina came to power in 1996 and started the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination, these assassins have been involved in conspiracies, and their conspiracy came to fruition in the 2001 elections when AL failed to form the government. Judging from that, it is clear that the assassins wanted to assassinate the central leaders of the AL, including Sheikh Hasina, to stop the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination. Their main objective was to assassinate Sheikh Hasina to ensure that the party would get divided into different fractions in her absence. In that case, the party would not have been able to come to power. If Sheikh Hasina had failed to come to power, the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination would never have taken place in the country. The grenade attack on August 21 was carried out due to the implementation of this plan.
Although the AL president survived on August 21 incident, she faced various physical problems. He almost lost her hearing. At the same time, many central leaders and activists are still carrying the unbearable pain of sprinters in their bodies, which is very painful. However, the happy thing is that Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina came to power, tried her father's killers, and completed the trial of those involved in the grenade attack on the August 21 incident.
Just as it was not possible to execute the verdict of all the murderers involved in the assassination of Bangabandhu, it has not been possible to execute the grenade attack case by bringing back some of the accused convicted in the August 21 incident. Therefore, the government should bring all the accused back and execute the verdict. If they could make it happen, we all will be very happy.
Bangabandhu wanted to establish a secular and non-communal Bangladesh. To attain his goal, he incorporated secularism as one of the fundamental principles of the constitution. However, over time, attempts have been made to remove the issue of secularism from the constitution of Bangladesh. It is because of this that the communal power has become stronger in Bangladesh. In a modern democratic state, it should be desirable that a non-communal government would run the country. However, many people disagree with this issue and always try to overthrow the non-communal government in any process in Bangladesh.
Since the AL has been in power for almost a decade since 2008, they may have failed to succeed in some cases, which is natural because no country's government can always claim that they will always do well. Moreover, when the party remains in power for a long time, infiltrators enter the party and maximise their interests by discrediting the party. However, the present government should be applauded for trying to build a non-communal Bangladesh. Of course, there is no denying that the government has sometimes compromised with various groups for the sake of politics, which many may not have expected from the party. Therefore, the issue needs to be deeply understood by the government. They need to keep in mind that compromise with all these forces will not bring welfare to the country and the nation.
Over the last year and a half, almost all the countries of the world, including Bangladesh, have been busy dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Our country is dealing with this pandemic quite well under the able leadership of the Hon'ble Prime Minister. Meanwhile, we have understood that vaccine is the biggest weapon to survive the pandemic. Though many countries do not have enough, our country has a sufficient supply of vaccines. If we all work together, this pandemic can be overcome very easily. However, we all should express our strong condemnation to the events of August 15th and 21st in this month. Let us all deal with the pandemic having been stimulated from these two griefs and establish Corona pandemic free Bangladesh as a developed country on the world map.
Writer: Professor of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi.