The United States has assured family members of victims who were extrajudicially and brutally murdered in 1977 by then military dictator Major General Ziaur Rahman, founder of pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
On April 13, 2023, Human Rights Officer of US Embassy in Dhaka, Sophia Meulenbreg assured ‘Mayer Kanna’, a network of 1977 victims, that her government would pay proper attention to the heinous crimes that occurred in the darkest part of Bangladesh history.
Sophia Meulenbreg gave the assurance when a delegation of ‘Mayer Kanna’ met with her in the city’s American Club, said a press release.
“The delegation handed over some documents to Sophia, which clearly provided evidence about the helpless soldiers in the army and air forces who were executed even before the so called mock trial. They were executed in October but letters were sent to families in December stating their conviction and staying in jail”, Mayer Kanna said.
Sophia thanked the delegation for coming to see her and handing over her the relevant documents of gross human rights violation and massacre in the Bangladesh Army and Air Force in 1977. She was empathetic to the cause of the victims’ family, it added.
The Mayer Kanna members requested the US government to raise their demand for justice in every possible way so that their unheard voice may not be suppressed again and again.
Mayer Kanna Convenor Kamruzzaman Lenin, Bilkis Chowdhury and the network’s legal adviser Barrister Prashanta Barua, among others, were present in the meeting.
The members of the 1977 network thanked the US embassy and ambassador for accepting the documents and hearing the delegation’s cause of suffering.
The network claimed that BNP’s founder military dictator Ziaur Rahman was the mastermind of the heinous crimes and they are in apprehension that pro-Islamist BNP is the principal obstruction to the way of justice, the release added.
During his reign of terror, General Ziaur Rahman has murdered a large number of the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces as well as his political rivals. He also made frantic bids in imposing Islamic sharia rule in Bangladesh and turning the country into another Pakistan.
General Zia was fervidly against India and he attempted to adopt numerous state policies to patronize and fund separatist and terrorist activities in India, while he was also systematically repressing Hindus in Bangladesh. General Zia also extended patronization to anti-liberation war forces and Pakistani collaborators while he played an active role in rehabilitating the self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
It is a documented fact that after June 8, 1976, 12 of the self-proclaimed and accused killers involved in the August 15 assassination of Bangabandhu and members of his family were appointed by General Ziaur Rahman to various diplomatic missions of the country overseas. At least two of the main culprits of August 15 massacre, Col (dismissed) Syed Faruque Rahman and Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid were sent to Libya where they enjoyed patronization and funding from Libyan leader Muammar Al Gaddafi. General Zia made personal request to Muammar Al Gaddafi for “doing the needful” for rehabilitation of these individuals. By mid-November 1975 – three months after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members, Faruque Rahman and Khandaker Abdur Rashid were living in Libya as Gaddafi’s “VIP guests”. Other killers were given diplomatic postings in various countries by military dictator Zia. They were Lt. Col. Shariful Haq (Dalim), first secretary, China; Lt. Col. Aziz Pasha, first secretary, China; Maj. AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, first secretary, Algeria; Maj. Bazlul Huda, second secretary, Pakistan; Maj. Shahriar Rashid, second secretary, Indonesia; Maj. Rashed Chowdhury, second secretary, Saudi Arabia; Maj. Nur Chowdhury, second secretary, Iran; Maj. Shariful Hossain, second secretary, Kuwait; Captain Kismat Hashem, third secretary, Abu Dhabi; Lt. Khairuzzaman, third secretary, Egypt; Najmul Hossain, third secretary, Canada; and Lt. Abdul Majed, third secretary, Senegal.
Foreign ministry officials at the time and later foreign secretary, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, had taken their appointment letters and handed them over to Libya. Prior to that, in February-March of 1976, Brig. Gen. (later Maj. Gen.) Nurul Islam (Shishu) went from Dhaka to Libya for discussions and negotiations with those self-proclaimed killers. This was revealed by sources within the foreign ministry at the time. While 12 of the army officers were willing to take up these posts, the two main figures of the 15 August killing, Col. Syed Faruque Rahman and Col. Khandaker Abdur Rashid, refused to accept those postings. Instead, they decided to stay in Libya and run multi-billion-dollar business under direct patronization of Gaddafi.
Zia’s successor military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad continued these self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu in diplomatic service and he even had given them promotions and enhanced benefits. It may be mentioned here that, during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, Ershad continued to collaborate with the Pakistani regime and had openly opposed Bangladesh’s war.
It may be mentioned here that, both Zia and Ershad were in favor of turning Bangladesh into an Islamic republic, while they were directly collaborating with pro-jihadist Jamaat-e-Islami.
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