Former Bangladesh Army chief Ziaur Rahman behind assassination of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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Dhaka: In a confession before he was hanged to death in April for the killing of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, dismissed military officer Abdul Majed said that former Bangladesh Army chief Ziaur Rahman was behind the 1975 assassination.

Bangladesh on Saturday mourned the death of Rahman, who was assassinated on August 15, 1975, along with his wife Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, and 12 other family members in one of the worst political massacres 45 years ago.

In the confession, Majed said that the day after the murder, Ziaur Rahman addressed all the jawans and officers of Dhaka Cantonment.

“He motivated everyone not to worry about what happened and asked them to return to the chain of command. ‘It’s a matter of the nation, it’s not a matter of us’,” Majed quoted Rahman as saying.

Majed further said that those involved in the assassination were given shelter at Bangabhaban on the day of the massacre.

They were staying in the VIP suite next to President Khandaker Mushtaq, where Ziaur Rahman used to go there and meet them.

He later awarded the renegade officers.

Zia posted the killers in Foreign Service and promoted each one of them as a reward.

In his confession, which described the beginning and end of the murder, Majed mentioned that he was also with the killers as a relatively junior officer.

He said that Noor Chowdhury shot Bangabandhu, while Risaldar Mosleh Uddin shot and killed the other members of the family.

Majed also claimed that those who were given jobs in the Foreign Service did not have the same qualifications, adding that they were given a promotion and awarded to foreign posting because of his (Ziaur Rahman) direct patronage.

However, those officers were not qualified for foreign service, not even graduates. Most of them were short-term commissioned officers.

Majed had repeatedly tried to hide his involvement. After serving as the Ambassador of Senegal, hewas brought back to the country in 1980 as per his wish and was promoted to the post of Deputy Secretary in Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC).

Majed, who was hanged to death on April 12, was arrested in Dhaka on April 7 some 24 years after trial began against him and his fellow army officers for the massacre.

The authorities executed five of the 12 military personnel sentenced to death for the murder. Their execution took place on January 27, 2010, a year after Bangabandhu’s eldest daughter, incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power for her second term.

One of the accused, Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2001, while six others declared fugitives faced conviction in absentia.

Of the fugitives, the government knows the whereabouts of Noor Chowdhury, who is in Canada, and Rashed Chowdhury, in the US.

While the locations of Col (dismissed) Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim,and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan were yet to be deteremined.

PTI

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