Defeated forces of ’71 won’t be allowed to stage a comeback: PM

Mahamudul Hasan

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Saturday said that the defeated forces of the Liberation War would not be allowed to stage a comeback in independent Bangladesh.
‘The defeated forces want to turn Bangladesh into a province of Pakistan…BNP leader Khaleda Zia is one of their cronies. She does not find comfort when people live in peace amid development activities,’ Hasina said in a hard-hitting speech at a large meeting organised by Dhaka city Awami League at Suhrawardy Udyan marking the 39th anniversary of the martyrdom of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She urged the people to stand guard against the ‘conspiracies’ of the defeated forces against the development of Bangladesh.
The prime minister said that some people were busy finding faults with the government but such hue and cry could not stop trial of war criminals.
In a scathing attack on her arch political rival, Hasina branded the BNP chairperson a ‘sick woman’ and said if she were not so, she would not celebrate her fake birthday by cutting cake on August 15, the day Mujib and most of his family members were assassinated in 1975.
‘She [Khaleda] does not believe in independence and sovereignty…She wanted to sell out our gas to her foreign masters who had helped her take power by rigging the 2001 elections….But my first task is to protect the interest of the people,’ the prime minister said.
Hasina said that Ziaur Rahman was involved in the killing of her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Zia was made the chief of army staff only seven days after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib as a reward for his involvement in the killing, she said.
‘Who captured the state power after Bangabandhu’s assassination? It was traitor [Khandkar] Mostaque [Ahmed] and his cohort Ziaur Rahman…Zia became the chief of the army staff after the assassination of Bangabandhu. It so happened because the killers were closely linked,’ she said.
Hasina also said that Zia had promulgated indemnity ordinance after becoming the president to save the killers of Sheikh Mujib and rewarded them with jobs in Bangladesh missions abroad.
The prime minister said that there was no doubt about Zia’s involvement in the killing of Sheikh Mujib as he had patronised the killers. ‘Zia rehabilitated the killers and his wife also tried to do the same by making killers Rashid and Huda lawmakers in the 1996 elections.
Recalling the fateful night of August 15, 1975, the prime minister said at that time she and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana had been in Germany.
‘It was not just killing… The killers’ aim was to destroy the Republic and its independence, trample the spirit of independence and eliminate all the achievements of our independence,’ she said.
The prime minister said she was not afraid of death as she had been close to it several times after returning home in 1981. ‘I have nothing more to lose, I have already lost everything. Now I want to work for building Bangladesh into a developed nation as a soldier of Bangabandhu,’ she said in an emotion-charged voice.
Hasina said that the BNP chairperson had killed hundreds of people in a bid to foil the January 5 elections. ‘She [Khaleda] committed the killings the way anti-liberation elements had done it during the Liberation War in 1971,’ Hasina said.
The Awami League chief advised her party men to work for the wellbeing of the people by sacrificing their own interests.
Acting president of Dhaka city Awami League MA Aziz presided over the discussion addressed by Awami League leaders Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Sahara Khatun, Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Dhaka University vice-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique.
The meeting virtually disrupted the road communications network in the capital in the afternoon as police blocked many roads for traffic movement.

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