On the morning of August 15, 1975, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the President of Bangladesh, and much of his family were assassinated by members of the military in a bloody coup. Rahman had been a leading figure in Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan in in 1971. He became the new country’s first President and then became Prime Minister in 1972 before becoming President again in early 1975. Rahman’s death a few months into his second term as President plunged Bangladesh into years of political chaos from which the country is only just emerging, slowly.
On the morning of the assassinations, only two of Rahman’s children escaped death – two of his daughters were abroad in West Germany at the time. Both were banned from ever returning to their homeland. Yet, return they did. In fact, in 1996 one of Rahman’s daughters Sheik Hasina Wazed was elected Prime Minister. One of her first acts was to pursue legal action against those military officers who led the coup. Due to political wrangling, she was out of office before any real progress was made. In 2009, she was re-elected Prime Minister and remains so today. She was since reconvened the legal actions and in 2010 five of the officers were executed after being found guilty. Six other officers have been convicted, but their death sentences have not been carried out since they have not returned to Bangladesh since Wazed came to power and were convicted in absentia.
August 15 continues to be marked as a National Day of Mourning in Bangladesh in Sheik Rahman’s honor.
Featured Image: “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.” By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use.
Image 1. “Sheik Hasina Wazed.” By Prime Minister’s Office – Derivative (Cropped by Ctg4Rahat), OGL.
Sources: Ahmed, Anis. “Killers of Bangladesh independence leader executed.” Reuters. 27 January 2010.