Radio announcement of killing

Syeda Zohra 'turns to stone' upon hearing the news

Dr Karim, a close friend of Tajuddin, and the then attorney general Fakir Shahabuddin entered Tajuddin's house. Tajuddin middle daughter Rimi followed them. They reached upstairs where Syeda Zohra was sitting in the verandah. Rimi was standing behind them. They informed Zohra that Tajuddin was killed.

I looked at my mother, she seemed no longer human but as a stone. She froze suddenly.

Rimi

DIG Kazi Abdul Awal secretly files a murder case

Stunned by the brutal, cold killing of the four Awami League senior politician, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of prisons Kazi Abdul Awal secretly filed a murder case in Lalbagh Police Station south of Dhaka the next day (some say he did this on the same day of the murder i.e. 3 November 1975).

In the ejahar (First Information Report or FIR), Kazi Abdul Awal is believed to have accused Captain Muslemuddin and four army officers of the killings.

One army officer wearing khaki uniform giving identity as captain Moslemuddin attached to Bangabhaban accompanied by four army personnel wearing khaki uniform came to the jail at 4:00am on November 3, 1975. They were armed with Stengun and SLR (self-loading rifle). They entered into the jail and killed four prisoners.

The FIR reads

The then officer-in-charge (OC) of Lalbagh Police Station, A. B. M. Fazlul Karim, tasked with investigation, visited the scene of killing where a magistrate made an inquest report of the bodies. Later, a postmortem report was prepared and the OC gathered evidence from the scene.

On 21 November 1975 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Saifuddin Ahmad, took over the charge. Saifuddin tried to gain entry to the cell where the four leaders were killed but he was denied access. The DSP was told that he could not visit the scene and record statements of witnesses without permission from the home ministry, as a three-member judicial probe committee headed by Justice Ahsan Uddin Chowdhury had been formed. The DSP was again denied permission in 1976 by the home ministry, saying a judicial probe was on and it would inform him in time. Nothing happened.

Later attempts by CID senior assistant superintendents Abul Hossain, M. G. Mostafa, Fazlul Karim and Khalequzzaman who were tasked with the probe were also unsuccessful. They wrote to the home ministry in vain on several occassions seeking permission to launch the probe. It would not be till 1996, 21 years after the killing, that the investigators would get the green light to open the case, clearing legal obstructions to the trial.

According to Aminur Rahman, only Inspector General A. T. M. Nuruzzaman knew that the four leaders would be killed inside the prison. But no other officer in prison could imagine that such a brutal assassination would happen that early morning.

Burial

The dead bodies of the four leaders lay scattered inside the jail room, soaked in their and each other's blood. They were eventually handed over to their respective relatives.

Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam, and Captain Mansur Ali were buried in Banani graveyard in Dhaka whilst A. H. M. Kamruzzaman was buried in his family graveyard in Kadirganj, Rajshahi.

Syed Nazrul Islam

Syed Nazrul Islam's family were told of his passing on 4 November 1975, a day after he was killed. He was buried at Banani graveyard even though the family wanted to bury him at Doel Chattar.

We wanted to bury our father at Doel Chattar but they never handed over his body. Instead, my father was buried at the Banani graveyard amid tight security measures. None of us were even allowed to see his grave and offer prayers for his departed soul.

Major General Syed Shafayetul Islam

Syed Nazrul's elder son, Syed Ashraful Islam (later a member of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League cabinet), was initially prevented by the military government from returning home from London, UK, where he was based. Ashraful had moved to UK after 1971 independence for higher studies. Finally, on 5 November 1975 Ashraful was permitted to return. But he was sent back to UK a week later by the government. They didn't even let him complete the immigration process so it would make it harder for him to return.

Moshtaque's government also increased their house rent to Tk 100,000 forcing them to move.

The Mushtaq gang pressured Ashraf's mother [i.e. Syed Nazrul Islam’s wife] to move to Mymensingh.

Syed Nazrul Islam's family went through great hardship under President Moshtaque's government

Tajuddin Ahmad

In the morning he was brought. I didn't know what to say. What had happened. I cried once. Then on the spot I had the feeling that I had lost my husband today, the children have lost a father, so what? He had worked for a cause and for those throughout his life, he couldn't reach the country to that goal.

He had to leave, was assassinated in such an inopportune time... what has the country lost! I stopped crying. I didn't cry anymore.

Syeda Zohra Tajuddin

While his love, respect and loyalty towards Bangabandhu were beyond doubt, he [Tajuddin] did not hesitate to speak his mind even if it meant going against the tide. In their final days, Bangabandhu and Tajuddin, political companions for 30 years, might have had differences in opinion, but their fate was tied together.

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

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