JaSoD leaders rule out Hasina’s 'conspiracy theory' about Serajul Alam Khan on Mar 7 speech

Leaders of a faction of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal or JaSoD has ruled out any 'conspiracy' suspected by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in former student leader Serajul Alam Khan’s conversation with Bangabandhu over the Mar 7 speech.

The JaSoD faction led by Sharif Nurul Ambia and Nazmul Haque Prodhan said in a statement on Saturday that Serajul’s complaint about Bangabandhu’s stance in the speech was a ‘personal issue’ between Serajul and Bangabandhu and ‘did not affect the relationship between the two’.

“Demanding proclamation of independence in the Mar 7 speech in 1971 and speaking about it after Bangabandhu delivered the speech was a reflection of the expectation of the people, including the freedom-seeking students and youths,” Ambia and Prodhan said in the statement.     

“And Bangabandhu always respected the expectations of the students and youths. Since the 60s, such complaints and debates had been there in many conversations between Bangabandhu and the Nucleus organisers that never affected their relationships,” the statement said.     

“These were never conspiracies, but the expression of irresistible expectation for independence,” it added.

Then Chhatra League leader Serajul, Abdur Razzaq, and Kazi Aref Ahmed formed a network called ‘Nucleus’ in the early 60s to push for Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan. The student leaders were very close to Bangabandhu.

Soon after the creation of Bangladesh, Chhatra League suffered a split following differences with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s nephew, Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani.

The splinter group became JaSoD in 1972 under the leadership of Serajul.

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Speaking at a programme marking the historic Mar 7 speech by Bangabandhu on Friday, Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina criticised Serajul for his opinion about the speech on March 7, 1971.

Hasina, now the prime minister of Bangladesh, said Serajul and his followers had pressured Bangabandhu to proclaim independence in the speech, and as he did not follow their advice, they lied to Bangabandhu that people became frustrated.

The prime minister said Bangladesh would be isolated diplomatically and attacked by the Pakistani forces immediately if Bangabandhu proclaimed independence officially on Mar 7, 1971.

Referring to a conversation between Bangabandhu and Serajul she overheard after the speech, Hasina also said she asked herself what the aim of pressurising Bangabandhu inside the party to proclaim independence at the Mar 7 rally could be.

But the JaSoD leaders said, “The conversation was merely a matter of mutual understanding between Bangabandhu and the Nucleus, especially Serajul Alam Khan.”

They, however, admitted that some problems occurred in the relationship between Bangabandhu and Serajul later.

“The bond between them was unbroken from the formation of the Nucleus till Bangabandhu’s homecoming,” they said.      

They also mentioned how the Nucleus played a role in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence.

“Belittling the role of the Nucleus and Serajul Alam Khan will only lead to distortion of history,” the JaSoD leaders said.