Londoni

Date fixed for murder

By 3 July 1975 Farook had made his mind to kill Sheikh Mujib. In his pocket diary, noted against the 3 July 1975 in large red letters, are the words "START WORK".

Whether I go myself, alone, or whatever happens, I was finally committed on 3rd July. I had completely written off everything about myself. Khalas. The past, the present, for me everything was dead. Suddenly I had crystallised in my mind that I would not wait longer than the 15th of August.

Farook's determined stance

Farook's diary told him that the next convenient training night exercise for the Bengal Lancers and the 2nd Field Artillery was in the early hours of 15th August, a Friday.

The day [Friday] had a resounding significance for him, for Farook was a Friday's child. All the great events in his life had occurred on Fridays. He was born on a Friday ("at the time of Azan" - the Muslim call to prayer). He defectef from the Pakistan army on a Friday. He was married on Friday. The day also had great religious significance because Friday is the Muslim sabbath. Farook thought Friday woudl be a propitious day for the act he intended as a service to Islam.

Anthony Mascarenhas,

Farook didn't tell Rashid about the date he had fixed for the coup because he wanted to ensure there was no last minute slip. But in the course of their discussion both men agreed that the strike would have to occur before 1 September 1975 when the BAKSAL system was due to become operative. Before that date the District Governors accompanied by units of the Rakkhi Bahini and the army would have taken up positions in the 60 districts. This would've made the situation difficult to control because instead of being centralised in Dhaka they would've had their "enemy" spread over 60 different places.

Sheikh Mujib: Jamal sent to Sandhurst so he could be appointed "the head of my army some day"

In 1975 Sheikh Jamal was sent to the prestigious Royal Academy, Sandhurst, England despite the fact that he lacked the brilliance or talents to be a student at the UK's elite military academy.

Some officers, including General Zia and Brigadier Manzoor (Zia's Chief of General Staff), suspected that Sheikh Mujib had been grooming his second son for a senior position in the army.

After putting Jamal in the army, Sheikh Mujib immediately sent him off for training at the Yugoslav Military Academy. Jamal, it seems, couldn't cope with the studies there and to Sheikh Mujib's great disappointment returned to Dhaka. Thereafter Sheikh Mujib wanted to send him to Sandhurst and telephoned General Shafiullah (Chief of Army Staff) insisting that Jamal be appointed a cadet at Sandhurst. It was hoped that upon completion of the training, the 20-year-old could be appointed, in Sheikh Mujib’s own words, "the head of my army some day".

This created a difficult situation all round. In the first place, cadets for Sandhurst are chosen by an exhaustive selection process and there were many other candidates brighter and more suitable than Jamal. And it was thought that Jamal would not be able to meet the standards required by Britain's premier military academy. Secondly, Sandhurst did not cater for ad hoc appointments. But since Mujib insisted that he be admitted, they agreed to accept Jamal as a special case on payment of a £6,000 training fee. This was immediately agreed to and, according to Manzoor, the money was remitted secretly through army channels without the knowledge of the Finance Minister [Tajuddin Ahmed].

Anthony Mascarenhas,

Soon after the independence, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took initiatives to build modern and skilled armed forces.

He inaugurated the Bangladesh Military Academy in Comilla in 1974. While addressing the passing-out parade of the first batch of the Military Academy, Bangabandhu had called upon the cadets to build themselves as a skilled and morally esteemed officers being imbued with the ideals of patriotism.

I, myself, am a member of Armed Forces family. My brother Captain Shaheed Sheikh Kamal took part in War of Liberation as a regular member of Army. My other brother Shaheed Sheikh Jamal joined Army after being commissioned from the Royal Academy, Sand Hurst. My youngest brother Sheikh Russel also had a dream to join army.

They are no more with us. I see reflection of my brothers when I look at you. You are as if my brothers and sisters, members of my family.

PM Sheikh Hasina addressing cadets at President's Parade in Chittagong (21 December 2011)

After attending a short 4-month training course, Jamal joined Major General Shafiullah's battalion 2 East Bengal Regiment as a Commissioned Officer. By now there were persistent rumours emanating from high places that Sheikh Mujib was about to draft his son into the army as a Lieutenant Colonel and place him in a key position. Rumours also spread that like the bureaucracy, the army would also be placed under the control of BAKSAL. Such changes would have given Sheikh Mujib a firmer grip over the army.

In early 1975 rumours spread among senior army officers that Sheikh Jamal who had just returned after completing his military training at Sandhurst, would be appointed as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Bangladesh Army.

...Jamal was a likeable lad, and unlike his abrasive older brother, Kamal, was well-behaved and respectful. Not long after returning from Sandhurst - and within a month of his wedding - Jamal was gunned down with the rest of the family.

Anthony Mascarenhas,

Mujib’s action was seen as a strategy to keep young, over-zealous army officers under tight political control and, at the same time, to set a precedent for his personal intervention in military personal matters.

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However, the "accelerator" or the "precipitating factor" of army intervention was the personal grievances of the coup leaders. The lightning and bloody coup, which was staged in the early morning hours of 15 August 1975 and eliminated almost every member of Sheikh Mujib's family, was engineered by three majors who had developed bitter personal animosity against Sheikh Mujib, and who were directly responsible for engineering and staging a coup in the early hours of 15 August 1975, eliminating almost every member of Sheikh Mujib’s family as well as Sheikh Mujib himself.

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"Royal" wedding of Sheikh's sons brings whole family in one place

Both Kamal and younger brother Jamal got married on the same day. On 17 July 1975 Kamal married Sultana Ahmed 'Khuki' whilst Jamal married his cousin Parveen Rosy.

Khuki is the daughter of Dabiruddin Ahmed, a prominent Chief Engineer of Dhaka University. Her brother Babul was killed only days before the end of 1971 Swadhinata Juddho during a gun battle near Dhaka where he grew up.

Khuki was a Sociology honours graduate who studied with a pool of talent comprising illustrious national singer Sabina Yasmin, Shakera Ahmed (then Khan), famed Tagore singer Sharifa Quader (then Begum), Nazrul singer Najma Parvin, and long distance runner and pole-vaulter of the then national Pakistan team Miraj. Like Khuki's brother Babul, Miraj too was killed in combat during the 1971 Muktijuddho.

Khuki was also famed for her sporting prowess. She held national records in long-jump and 100-metres dash and earned the nickname "Golden Girl of East Pakistan" for her sporting accomplishments.

Khuki was a girl with a heart of gold and her trade-mark was her smile, etched permanently on her face. This was not the forced smile of a politician or the cabin crew of airlines. This was a smile that wafted authenticity and exuded an infectious charm. Khuki's presence removed gloom and uplifted spirits, which we needed a lot after the war, as our class torn by war returned to the university.

Habibul Haque Khondker,

Rosy is the daughter of Sheikh Mujib's younger sister Khadeza Hossain, whose husband ATM Mohammad Hossain was a Joint Secretary in Sheikh Mujib's Cabinet. Rosy had just completed her matriculation from Dhanmondi Girls' School and was preparing for her HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate) examinations from Dhaka's Badrunnessa College when she got married.

  • Sultana Kamal (Khuku) (1951 - 1975) Wife of Sheikh Kamal (i.e. Sheikh Mujib's eldest daughter-in-law). Had a BSS (Hons) from Dhaka University. An established athlete, she won several national prizes in long jumps and broke records.
  • Parveen Jamal (Rosy) (1956 - 1975) Newly-wed wife of Sheikh Jamal and baghni (niece) of Sheikh Mujib from his younger sister Khadeza Hossain. Studying at Badrunnesa Ahmed College. Father Syed Hossain was serving as the establishment ministry secretary under BAKSAL government. Born in Sylhet.

The "royal-style wedding" was held at Gono Bhaban, Sheikh Mujib's official residence. A month later both the newly wed would be assassinated.

Both of Mujib’s sons were married just before the coup, and their wedding celebration could be compared in grandeur and pomp with those commemorating the weddings of princes and princesses. The rumour was that both of the wives wore crowns bedeckled with jewels, and that millions of Taka were spent on their lavish weddings. All the people mentioned above were living with Sheikh Mujib on the fateful morning of 15 August 1975.

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During the famine of 1974 one day Sheikh Kamal and Rehana came down at Malibagh. They came to invite us for the marriage. Both the brothers were getting married on the same day. The marriage ceremony was held at the new Gono Bhaban. The arrangements were pompous. Invites were in thousands. The whole show was color full and gorgeous. The following day most of the dailies carried the news about the extravaganza of the marriage with pictures of the brides. The grooms with their crows made of solid gold. Alongside they also published pictures of the hungry skeletons fighting with the street dogs for a crumb from the road side dustbin. Ironically enough sometime in 1972, while attending a marriage ceremony Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed his despair: "When shall I find the girls of Bangladesh getting married with garlands of flowers instead gold jeweleries?" This was publicised in the newspapers.

Between words and deeds what a contrast. This perhaps was not a big issue but was widely talked about.

Website dedicated to Major Dalim