Assassination of Bangabandhu
Assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: Military Coup de’tat of 15 August 1975
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15 August Coup
Who was the mastermind behind the 75 coup? Col Faruk or Rahsid? Although Faruk was the commander of the coup his job was finished as soon as the mission was accomplished. The person that did the reorganization and coordination after the coup was Rashid. If the overall situation wasn’t tackled since 6 am the whole coup would have been a failure. The credit for planning and coordination of the coup goes to Rashid. Rashid not only selected the new president but he also brought him to Bangabhaban.
2. Although the military coup of 1975 was presented as an isolated incident “ desperately” carried out by only two rebel military units, in reality it was not such an isolated operation carried out by two military units. Faruq and Rashid said, once asked, how would we dare undertake such an impossible project if we weren’t backed by the “big brothers” . From their comment it becomes obvious that the duo was remote controlled by a few top military officers from behind the screen. The most obvious example of it was the inertia of the 46th brigade. About Zia’s involvement in 75 coup General Shafiullah, in his interview with a British magazine, Janamat, said ‘it wasn’t just an assumption, he knew everything.
3. It is quite surprising that in the event of the coup the presence of formidable 46 Brig in Dhaka cantonment was completely ignored and there was no anticipation of danger from them in Faruk/Rashid’s ‘attack plan’. Faruk’s only concern was to fight back the incompetent militia force the Rakkhi Bahini in case they make a move to save Mujib and it was a great mystery that the duo did not expect any threat from 46 Brigade. Once I asked Faruk about this mystery. “ Ask Rashid, said Faruk, “ because he somehow managed the 46 Brig. I asked Rashid directly. He smiled at me mischievously. ‘ Sir, you figure it out. He was our man”. His answer stunned me.
Was this why Shafayat Zamil was reluctant to move his troops in that morning? Was this why Rashid first met Shafayat Zamil right after the assassination of Mujib. Shouldn’t Shafayat Zamil have arrested Rashid as soon as he uttered “we killed Mujib”. But instead of arresting Rashid Shafayat Zamil headed to deputy chief’s (General Ziaur Rahman) residence on foot. It is relevant to point out here that Rakkhi Bahini could not move because they were surrounded by the tank division.
Three Military Coups and Some Untold Facts: Lt Col (retd) MA Hamid
At 7:30 on 16 August the majors put Mostak on the presidential seat. Major Rashid picked Mostak up from his Agamosi lane residence and escorted him to the radio station. When Mostak enters the radio station he was accompanied by Mahbubul Alam Chashi and Taheruddin Thakur. Obviously Mostak was worried about the reaction of the senior officers from the cantonment, the officers involved in the coup being junior majors-it was not clear what the responses of the senior army officers would be. Besides only 600 troops from 2 regiments were involved in the coup. Mostak was almost shitting himself in assessing the situation. He was worried whether or not the senior officers would support the coup. So he asked Rashid to bring the divisional chiefs to the radio station. Rashid headed to the cantonment to bring the service chiefs.
It is interesting to note that the first martial law in the history of Bangladesh was declared, in the morning of 15th August 1975, by a forced retiree army officer-Major Ashraful Huq Dalim. An indefinite dusk to dawn curfew was promulgated. Unlike the other Afro-Asian country, Bangladesh army as an institution did not conspire, although they are beneficiary to the coup d’etat, overthrow the elected government of 1975 but a small band of army officers in collaboration with a few powerful civilians well connected with the army did stage the first coup d’etat. The biggest irony in Mujib’s career lies in the fact that none of his key associates came out to counter or even protest against his assassination. The top Awami leaders joined Mostak’s cabinet treading on Mujib’s blood. Only Kader Siddki took arms in retaliation and had to take shelter in India chased out by the military under Zia; and Col Zamil, Mujib’s military secretary, gave his life in his futile attempt to protect Mujib.
Mujib’s para militia force, Rakkhi Bahini, also failed miserably to save Mujib and counter the coup d’etat. The head of Rakkhi Bahini Tofael Ahmed phoned Moni but Sheikh Selim instead answered the phone saying that a band of black dungaree (uniform of the armed corps) clad troops have killed Mujib and his wife. Tofael then called Mujib and he said “my home is under attack. Do whatever you can”. Tofael then called Abdur Razzak, Rakkhi Bahini HQ and Major General Shafiullah. A little late a Rakkhi Bahini 4WD went to Tofael’s residence and took him to the Rakkhi Bahini HQ.
A deadly silence enveloped the whole cantonment when Major Rashid and Dalim entered there. The impact of the coup d’etat stultified all. Ordinary troops were quiet. All found it difficult to believe Dalim’s radio announcement. Major Rashid encountered Brig Khaled Mosharraf at the HQ of 1st east Bengal Regiment. Colonel Shafayat Zamil, the commanding officer of 46 Infantry Brigade was also there. Rashid asked Brig Khaled Mosharraf to provide ammunitions for the tanks. Khaled gestured to oblige and promised Rashid to convince the military chief to take his side.
The 2nd in command of Bangladesh Army Major General Ziaur Rahman attended his office at 7:15 with his usual demeanor.
While the top military brushes were busy in the cantonment to get a cut out of the coup d’etat their colleagues have just staged, Mujib’s dead body was kept in a coffin in his garage under guard by the troops of artillery and armed corps. The following day, 16th August, at around 3p.m., Major Mohi Uddin and Lt Sekandar took Mujib’s dead body to his home town, Tungi Para. Initially Mujib’s dead body was kept in the local district office (Dak Bungalow) while Major Mohi Uddin kept insisting on a hurried funeral (in case he misses out of the cut). But the local Maulabhi did not give in to the pressure from the armed band. He told at the Major’s face that the dead body of a Muslim can not be buried without a proper bath. The Major gave him ten minutes time for the bath and later another ten minutes to complete. Mujib’s dead body was washed with a cheap 570 detergent bar (manufactured locally and sold through the subsidized state run chain shop (COSCOR) from the corner shop. A piece of sari, distributed under the post war relief program, obtained from a poor villager was used to wrap Mujib’s body.
During the wash the Maulabhi noticed that a bullet entered Mujib’s body from the left side of his back turning the entrails out. The right side of the body had nine bullets; the main veins of both his legs were cut off and his iconic index finger, the emblem of Bangalee independence and anti Pakistani colonization, was shot off. Mujib’s face was intact. Only ten locals attended the funeral. The military left in the chopper as soon as Mujib’s body was buried. 60 police cordoned off Mujib’s grave for months.
On 24 August 1975, the chiefs of army and navy, General Shafiullah and Air vice Marshal AK Khandakar were removed from their posts and offered jobs in foreign affairs department. Deputy Chief of army General Zia was appointed as the new chief of Army and Air vice Marshal MG Tawab as the chief of the Air Forces.
Mahbubul Alam Chasi was appointed as the senior secretary of the president and Lt Col Amin Ahmed Chowdhury the military secretary. ABS Safdar was promoted to the director general of National Security Intelligence (NSI). Shafiul Azam, the secretary of the civil affairs dept of Pakistan and a peer of Rao Farman Ali, the operational head of ISI and the founder of the collaborators’ force and the mastermind behind the killing of the pro-liberation intelligentsia and the genocide, was appointed as the cabinet secretary. Kazi Anwarul Huq the top man of the Pak dictators from Ayub to Yahyah was appointed the adviser to the president.
General Osmani took the office of the defense adviser to the president. Maolana Bhasani who supported the BKSAL movement (2nd revolution) of Mujib, congratulated Mostak for deposing the Mujib government.
From Jeddah Gholam Azam, excited by the news of the murder of his arch rival Mujib who also revoked his citizenship for his involvement in the genocide, called upon the heads of the Islamic states in the Middle East to recognize Bangladesh under the rules of the counter revolutionaries. Khaza Khairuddin Mahmud gave a statement congratulating the coup de’tat and Hamidul Huq Chowdhury wrote a letter to Mostak congratulating the murder of Mujib.
Bhutto (the ultimate winner in the 1971 war which helped him to get rid of Yahyah and the politically challenging people of the eastern wing (Bangladesh) making him the prime minister of Pakistan) having an orgasmic feat due to the killing of Mujib (his political rival of 1970 and the war ensued only because he refused to give Mujib the chair of the prime minister because he won the election) sent to Mostak a huge official gift comprising 50,000 tonnes of rice, 100,000,00 miters of clothes and 50,000,000 miters of fine fabrics.
On 16 August 1975, Saudi Arab and on 31 August China officially recognized Bangladesh as an independent state.
Tajuddin Ahmed, the first prime minister and the leader of the independence war in absence of Mujib, was arrested by the coup leaders from his own residence although he was not holding any office in the government. Syed Nazrul Islam, the first president of Bangladesh, was arrested from his government quarter. Prime Minister Mansur Ali went underground. But his sons convinced by the foxy duo Obaidur Rahman and Shah Moazzem (both held high offices under military dictator Zia and Ershad) that nothing would happen to him if he comes out, re-established the contact with him. Mostak asked Mansur Ali, back to his residence, to be the Prime Minister in his government which Mansur Ali bluntly refused. Angry Mostak (or Faruk Rashid or may be even Zia from behind the screen) arrested Mansur Ali and sent him to the prison on 17 August 1975. On 3 October 1975, the four key leaders of the liberation war, Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, Kamaruz Zaman and Mansur Ali were brutally murdered in their prison cells by the troops led by Rashid and on express order from Mostak, the president.