POST TIME: 3 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Lessons of the Jail Killing Day

Lessons of the Jail Killing Day

Today the nation mourns the four slain national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, AHM Quamruzzaman and M Mansur Ali on the 44th anniversary of the Jail Killing Day. The enemies of Bangladesh and all it stands for, were not just satisfied after riddling their bodies with bullets but they stabbed these fine men brutally with their bayonets mutilating their dead bodies.

The leaders were put behind bars soon after the August 15, 1975, massacre that claimed the lives of Bangabandhu and most of his family members. The four leaders led the Liberation War in 1971 after Bangabandhu had been imprisoned by the Pakistan army.

We are still bearing the brunt of the politics of violence and murder that the massacre of Bangabandhu and his family and the murder inside the jail of the four nationals generated. The ploy of the murderers was to throw the country in an abyss of darkness which they had temporarily succeeded in doing.

It is indeed a blot on the nation’s collective conscience that it was not until the first Sheikh Hasina-led government was formed in 1996 that the perpetrators of these most dastardly murders in our history were brought to book. We thank Sheikh Hasina for giving us the closure that this nation badly needed.

Unfortunately ever after the court handed punishment to 11 perpetrators for the killing of four national leaders inside the erstwhile Dhaka central jail, but their sentence is yet to be carried out. The authorities could not even trace nine of them despite making apparently strong efforts through diplomatic channels, intelligence agencies and the Interpol to bring the fugitives home. We want to see the case concluded by bringing back the killers who are abroad and implementing the verdict of the court. Only then can the souls of the four slain national leaders rest at peace. The accused could not have executed the killings unless very high-handed powerful state machineries were involved in the conspiracy. There is no doubt that those in power at that time facilitated and indeed ordered this most heinous act. When the state becomes complicit in acts of crime committed in legally recognised sacrosanct institutions like prison, as has been the case of November 3,1975, a deep despondency sets in. People tend to lose faith in the guardian role of the state regulatory bodies. Quite clearly, in a scenario like that, democratic and civilised norms get blunted.