POST TIME: 15 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Move on to bring back killers before Bangabandhu’s birth centenary
Abu Jakir, Dhaka

Move on to bring back killers before Bangabandhu’s birth centenary

The Awami League (AL)-led government has been continuing its legal and diplomatic efforts to bring back home the six fugitive killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from different countries. According to party sources, the government is trying to bring back the killers before the celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already talked several times with the heads of different counties in this regard. Discussions have also been held with the heads of those countries in which those killers have taken shelter.

Among the six fugitive convicted killers, only two can be traced to two North American countries. The government is yet to find the whereabouts of the other four despite efforts made through diplomatic and intelligence channels. Sources say the government has already engaged two law firms in the US and Canada for bringing back the fugitive convicted killers Lt Col (sacked) A M Rashed Chowdhury and Maj. (Retd) Noor Chowdhury respectively.  Though the government is continuing discussions with the US and Canadian governments about extradition of the two killers, those countries have not yet agreed to the extradition terms due to “legal complexities”.

Earlier, on March 28, 2010, the government had formed a task force, comprising of senior officials of the foreign, law and home ministries, to work on this specific issue. Law minister Anisul Huq headed the task force. However, none of the six convicted fugitive killers hiding abroad could be brought back in spite of the government's special efforts.

Law minister Anisul Huq said: “We have already talked with the US and Canadian governments about extradition of two killers. Two law firms have  been appointed in both the US and Canada for lobbying to bring the killers back to the country.” “Our efforts will continue as long as we don’t get them back,” he added.  

Asked about the other fugitives, Huq said there was no specific information about the remaining four self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu.“But our efforts are on to locate them,” he added.

Replying to a question, the law minister said, “There is no other development in this regard right now.”

In April, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen had said that the government wanted to bring back the fugitive killers of Bangabandhu ahead of his 100th birth anniversary in 2020. He had come up with the statement while distributing special stipends to students on the occasion of Bangabandhu’s birth anniversary, organised by the law department of Dhaka University.

When contacted, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said: “We are continuing our efforts to bring the killers back. We have already appointed an internationally reputed lawyer to help the government in this regard.”

Replying to a question, Kamal said: “Yes, we’ll try our best to bring back the killers before the celebration of 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu. But I am not sure whether this initiative will be successful.”

Efforts are also on to get back Risaldar Muslemuddin, one of the self-confessed killers, who is believed to be in India now, government sources say.

The authorities, however, have not confirmed the whereabouts of three other fugitive killers—Lt Col (relieved) Shariful Haque Dalim and Capt. Abdul Majed. However, sources claimed that they might have been hiding in Zimbabwe or Libya and Senegal respectively.

Earlier, on November 19, 2009, the Supreme Court (SC) had upheld a High Court (HC) verdict, confirming capital punishment for 12 people, including the six, for killing Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on the dreadful night of August 15, 1975. The self-confessed killers of 15 August did not assassinate Bangabandhu alone, but also killed 16 other members of his family, friends and relatives. Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, escaped the planned assassination with her sister Sheikh Rehana as they were staying overseas at that time.

Five other convicts in the case—Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, and Mohiuddin Ahmed—were hanged on January 27, 2010. Another killer, Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2001.

The nation is set to observe the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and National Mourning Day today (August 15).  Like previous years, the government, the AL, and different political and socio-cultural organisations, educational institutions and professional groups have chalked out elaborate programmes to pay respect to the greatest son of the soil on the day of his martyrdom.