Bangabandhu killing: Hasina reminds UN she is still seeking justice

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought justice at the United Nations for the massacre of the family of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman four and a half decades ago.

Hasina, the daughter of Bangabandhu, raised the matter while concluding her address to the 76th UN General Assembly after speaking about climate change, the pandemic and the Rohingya refugee crisis in New York on Friday.

“Before I conclude, I wish to humbly remind this revered body established to ensure peace and justice around the world that I am still seeking justice for the brutal massacre of my family that took place 46 years ago.”

On Aug 15, 1975, a group of rogue army officers assassinated the then president of Bangladesh and most members of the family less than four years after he led the country to independence from Pakistan. 

The victims included his wife Bangamata Sheikh Fazilutunnesa Mujib, three sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel. “Eighteen of my close family members were brutally murdered,” the prime minister said.

Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana survived the carnage as they were abroad.

For years after the assassination of Bangabandhu, the military rulers did not allow his supporters to speak about him publicly, indemnifying the killers against the responsibilities for the massacre.

Awami League leaders, including Hasina, also point the finger at Bangladesh’s first military dictator Ziaur Rahman over Bangabandhu’s murder.

“For six years we were in exile suffering from the agony of losing near and dear ones.

Hasina recalled the struggle she faced in helming her father’s Awami League party to power again in 1996.

She also survived a number of assassination attempts, including a grenade attack on a rally on Aug 21, 2004, during the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami coalition government.

Hasina was arrested during the 2007-08 military-controlled caretaker government. Attempts to drive her out of politics failed as she returned to power through the 2008 elections.

During the first of her three consecutive terms as prime minister, Bangladesh tried the killers of Bangabandhu. Six of the convicts have been hanged and five are on the run. One of the fugitives is in the US and another in Canada, while the authorities are not sure about the location of the others.  

“Nevertheless, my struggle continued and upon returning to Bangladesh, I have devoted my life to fulfilling the dream of my father, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for a happy and prosperous Golden Bangladesh,” Hasina said.

“I shall continue to do so as long as I live.”