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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2862

Bangladesh observes national mourning day

Bangladesh 2M.A Qader-Reporting from Bangladesh

Dhaka, 16 August ( Defying rain and gusty winds the country on Saturday observed National Mourning Day’ with calls to carry out the long-pending sentences for the murder of independence leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members.

Sheikh Mujib was killed with many of his family members by some disgruntled military officers on Aug 15, 1975 and the case was filed 21 years after the assassination that shook the nation to the core and changed the political landscape forever.

The national flag was flown half-mast as individuals and organizations throughout the country marked the day with tributes and programmes amid rough weather. Sheikh Mujib's famous historic speeches were aired by loudspeakers at many points in Dhaka and elsewhere the country.

Dhaka became a city of grey, black and white. Hundreds of black banners with writing in white ink, demanding that the pending sentences of Bangabandhu's convicted killers to be carried out, were seen around the capital.

President Zillur Rahman and Prime minister Sheikh Hasina laid wreaths and offered prayers at Sheikh Mujib's portrait at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital just before 7am.

The chiefs of air, army and navy forces, ministers, top government officials and Awami League leaders were present, among others, to pay tribute.

Crowds from all walks defied the downpour to join the gathering at the memorial. Many of those at Dhanmondi, Road 32 were also chanting slogans in the rain calling for the verdict in the Bangabandhu murder trial to be carried out without further delay.

Sheikh Hasina along with other party leaders went on to Banani graveyard to pay respects at the graves of other of her slain family members in the morning.

Awami League leaders also gathered at Bangabandhu's grave in Tungipara, Gopalganj. Hasina's scheduled visit to the gravesite, however, was cancelled due to the bad weather.

President Zillur Rahman, in a message, called on the nation to work as one for the success of the government's Charter for Change, in which he said lay Bangabandhu's dreams for the nation.

"Mujib was the pioneer and architect of independent Bangladesh and its sovereignty," he said.

"August 15 1975 is a black-chapter in our history ... the nation incurred an irretrievable loss. The country is deeply shocked and full with grief for this shameful incident," the message said.

Hasina and her younger sister Rehana, both in Europe at the time, were the two members of the immediate family to survive the killings.

None of the killers have been brought to justice. The convicts in the Bangabandhu murder case still have appeals pending in the Supreme Court, 34 years after the killings that shook the nation to the core.

The appeals remained pending with the Appellate Division through the next BNP-led government for lack of judges.

The Awami League government coming to power again in January this year appointed four new judges to the Appellate Division, again clearing the way for resolution of the case.

Anisul Haq, the chief prosecution counsel, on August 11 said the hearing on the appeal by convicts against the High Court judgment in the murder trial of independence hero Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would take place after observing the August 15 national mourning day.

-Asian Tribune-

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