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The dark night full of gunpowder smell -The Asian Age


Dhaka University campus was decorated in a new look to welcome Bangabandhu on 15 August 1975. He would come and visit his favourite institution - Dhaka University. 

This is from where he had once been locked out. He supported the justified demand of the low-paid employees of Dhaka University. He formed soldiery students' strike and stood by them. The same institution, after almost three decades, became ready to welcome back its rejected son. 

The preparation continued for quite a long time. Every building and compound was adorned with the flavor of festival. It was fixed that after stepping into the campus, Bangabandhu would at first visit the shrine of the martyrs and pray for the peace of their souls and offer flower to their glorious memory. 

Then he would visit the whole campus in a motor procession. Students of University Laboratory would welcome him with flowers. He would pass some time at the mass killing site of the Jagannath Hall. 

As he had been a student of Fazlul Huq Hall in his student life, hence he would have gone there through Shahidulah Hall. He would pass some time with the teachers and authorities of the university. Then he would deliver speech at the TSC. 

The entire program was arranged in such a way so that thousands of general people and students could listen to his speech. Arts Faculty, Mall Chattar, Nilkhet, Shahid Minar, Chankhar Pool, Doel Chattar areas were full of mikes. Patriotic songs, poetry recitation and instrumental music were supposed to be played from the morning. The whole area was adorned with banners and festoons. 

Everyone was impatiently waiting when the morning would come and Bangabandhu would step into the campus. But he didn't come. Before morning, he had been brutally killed along with his whole family members excepting two daughters--Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana--who were then abroad. 

Apparently everything was alright centering around Bangabandhu's arrival in Dhaka University, but in depth a deep conspiracy was going on. The conspirators were not weak and they had their international instigation. They were prepared very strategically to strike. 

They used the failure of the government and its some gross mistakes.  Bangabandhu was indifferent to his own security. He believed, "No Bangalee will raise finger at me, if anyone does, his hand will shake off." How ferocious enemy could be an alien to him. The messenger of the enemy was inside his home. They attacked at the right time.

Just before a few months ago of August, Bangabandhu started some essential formation in the country. He announced that these steps were being taken to start a second revolution in the country. The fourth amendment in the national Constitution was made to make this aim successful. 

A political party named 'Bangladesh Krishok- Sromik Awami League' was formed. People of Bangladesh believed in multi-party democracy and they had been fighting for it for a long time. Bangabandhu's decision became ambiguous to them. No step was taken to clarify this matter to the ordinary people. Enemies took this opportunity and wanted to destroy him.

The government of Bangabandhu became detached from general people for various reasons. The aggressive Jashod was growing up in Dhaka University. This is not because the formation of Bakshal. Jashod had always been against Awami League. 

They took the step of surround the Home Minister to show their aggressive attitude. They were involved in different secret activities like Ganabahini. A big portion of the students was adverse to Bangabandhu and in this context Bangabandhu was supposed to visit the university.

Different contradictions were inside Awami League itself and on the other hand there was ideological conflict. A hidden power had always been active inside Awami League which was against democracy and secularism. Their leader was Mushtaq who came very near to Bangabandhu. 

Ballot box was brought to Dhaka from Daudkandi by helicopter only to make him win the election. He was placed in the presidium of Bakshal. Bangabandhu knew the ill intention of Mushtaq, but he was patient and this brought ultimate disaster to him. 

The assassins took a perfect preparation which nobody noticed. They preached that Bangabandhu would announce monarchy in Bangladesh and would claim himself as the lifelong president. They had built up a strong relationship with foreign fascism. 

Just before a few days of 15 August, their activities were noticed on the Dhaka University campus. On 13th August, a leaflet with campaign in favour of Pakistan had been distributed in some places of the campus. On 14th August morning the flag of Pakistan was found on the wall just beside the entry of Shamsunnahar hall. 

At 11 or 12 in the morning of 14th August, strong grenades were exploded in the Science Anex Building close to the central library. I, with some friends, rushed from one place to another. As I was the VP of DAKSU then, I had a major responsibility on my shoulder. We removed the Pakistani flag instantly. 

The splinters of the grenades clearly revealed that those grenades were intended to be used by military. We became worried about the security of the campus. We informed the security departments of the country. They took extra steps to ensure security. They used their technology with metal and mine detector. The head of the military- detective visited the campus in the evening. I met him at TSC. 

He assured me of the complete security of the campus. Just before the dawn, when Bangabandhu along with his other family members was being assassinated, the state security branch was busy in securing the campus. What a paradox! Beside the security of the campus, we enhanced the security of the student society. 

Volunteers were assigned to monitor and guard different places on the campus. We were also awake in the morning and bagan monitoring the campus. We were tramping the whole campus in motor cycles to secure the situation. 

Sheikh Kamal was also a volunteer. At 1:30 or 2:00 at night he wanted permission to go home and promised to come back early in the morning. After considering that he had just married, I permitted him with a condition-he must come in the morning separately by himself, not with his father's motor protocol. Today I regret thinking that he might have been alive today had I become merciless that night and forced him to stay on the campus. 

When we thought that everything was under control, right at that moment, we heard the sound of cannon and mortar. I sent two volunteers to find out the source of that devastating  sound. They informed us that firing was going on to the direction of Dhanmondi and it was almost impossible to go nearer the firing point.  I sent another group and right after that the radio announced the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu. 

In spite of being shocked, I didn't lose control and determined my next step standing inside the Arts Faculty. With some student leaders I went to a house at Hatir Pool and communicated with the party members and ordered them to be ready to jump into protest. 

I was gathering information from everywhere. Gradually the information came that the murderer majors were being able to integrate their power. The heads of the three forces, police and BDR announced their loyalty to the murderer government. All the members of the ministry of Bangabandhu except 3 or 4 started taking oath in favour of this assassin Mushtaq's government. 

It became clear before midday that the murderers have become successful to raise an anti- revolutionary step. It was not possible to raise instant protest against this. University classes were announced suspended. We decided that as soon as the class starts, we will start public protest through procession. 

All the Chatra League members left the campus except a few. Chatra Uninon's leaders and comrades were available on the campus. University opened on 20 October. 

Sudden procession was held in each corridor of the arts faculty with the slogan, 'we demand the justice for the assassination of Mujib'. Students and teachers became perplexed. The next day we went from class to class and summoned students and teachers to the public protest against the brutal murder of Bangabandhu. 

Mourning procession was announced on 4th November. A leaflet was also distributed. Lots of Chatra Union leaders were arrested while distributing the leaflet. The anti- Bangabandhu forces got enraged. They started saying, 'we want the head of Selim.' But we were not afraid of anything. 

We along with thousands of people gathered at Battala (under the banyan tree) as was preplanned. I presided over the rally and delivered an emotional speech there. Then we started a silent procession towards 32, Dhanmondi, the residence of Bangabandhu. 

We proceeded after crossing the barrier of police at Nilkhet. After reaching Bangabandhu's residence, we offered flower garland on the closed gate. This was the first procession and protest against the assassination of Bangabandhu. Thus we started the mission to eradicate the smell of gunpowder which was spread in the air by the assassins. The mission has not been completed yet. 

The writer is  President, 
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB)