‘She was our guardian’: Awami League activists remember Sahara Khatun

  • Kazi Mobarak Hossain, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-07-10 20:31:11 BdST

Members of the Awami League have recalled how Sahara Khatun led by example by trying to save them from police assault and legal actions.

Trying to shield party workers, she would often be met with disproportionate and intense police brutality and intimidation in street agitations when the party was in the opposition.

“I still remember the days when Apa [Sahara] would fall to the ground after taking a beating to save us. She was our guardian,” recalled Zakir Hossain, a ward unit leader of Dhaka North Awami League.

Sahara, the first female home minister of Bangladesh, passed away undergoing treatment for different sorts of illness at a hospital in Bangkok on Thursday night.

Zakir was a general member of the party when he joined protests with Sahara in the final days of military dictator HM Ershad’s regime and during the BNP’s tenure following elections in 1990.

“The fight of her out on the street filled us with courage,” he said.

Senior party leader Amir Hossain Amu recalled how Sahara protested against the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and joined Sheikh Hasina in the anti-autocracy movement when the party chief returned home in 1981.

“She [Sahara] was a hardworking, fearless and dedicated leader. She worked hard in every movement and election alongside the organisational programmes,” Amu said, describing Sahara as “a leader of the people”.

Another senior leader, Tofail Ahmed, believes Sahara earned the people’s love because she gave the country and the party whatever she had.

Qamrul Islam, the former state minister for law who was associated with Sahara, a lawyer by profession like him, said Sahara always fought cases against party workers free of charge.  

“I am lost for words,” Qamrul said while describing what Sahara did for the workers in bad times.

Dhaka North City Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, who is also a lawyer by profession, said Sahara’s death has left a vacuum in the legal profession of Bangladesh as well as politics.

“She was like a guardian to lawyers,” Taposh said.

Shahriar Kabir, the president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, said Sahara was the first to stand for him when he was arrested on charges of treason for staging a mock trial of ‘war criminals’.

”She stepped forward when no other lawyer was ready to defend me. Sahara Khatun was with us the entire time. She gave us courage and legal assistance. We’ve lost a guardian,” he said.