15th August: Unknown chapters
After the departure of Sree Samar Sen President Moshtaq and General Zia and the killers gang summoned their followers pro-Pakistani Generals and Brigadiers, Colonels and Majors to Bangabhaban and secretly discussed about the message of Delhi. The Generals and their followers were found trembling when they heard of the message of Delhi. But the killers Faruq-Rashid and their gang burst with anger and stirred up huge conflict among themselves in Bangabhaban. At this moment they asked the civil officers and employees to get out of Bangabhaban so that their conflicts are not leaked out in the open (Many of us didn't carry out the order and remained there). But at the end killer Moshtaq-Zia and their followers pro-Pakistani repatriated Army Officers, particularly, Col. Latif (former Chairman RAJUK) convinced all that they need time to settle the abnormal situation of the country. They convinced each other that for the sake of the survival of the gang of the killers and Moshtaq-Zia Government, they need some breathing space.
So they didn't need to put Bangladesh Army with a head on collusion with Indian Army, which is the 2nd largest in the world. At the end all of them agreed to avoid clash with Indian Army and decided to abandon the darkest idea of "Islamic Republic" or "Confederation with Pakistan".
On August 19, I called on the eminent journalist and BBC's correspondent Mark Tully who had come from New Delhi, at Hotel Intercontinental. I reported to him: "Mukti Bahini and Mujib Bahini are organising in Dhaka against the killers of Bangabandhu. They will attack them anytime in and around Dhaka. The killers of Bangabandhu are Pakistani agents and enemy of Bangladesh. You can please broadcast that the people of Bangladesh shall never accept them. The killers shall be hanged by the people at the race Course very soon. Freedom Fighters are now taking full preparations in and around Dhaka. Resistance will start any moment. Killers will not be able to escape. The people will hang them in the Race Course. You will see it."
As War Correspondent of Swadhin Bangla Betar, I gratuitously provided him with many news-items from the war front in 1971 and later in independent Bangladesh I rendered him valuable services. He knew me and trusted me. When I am recounting this after 44 years I must salute Mr Mark Tully on behalf of all the Freedom Fighter officers and employees of the Republic for his kind favour of broadcasting the news over the BBC. on that evening. The news inspired all the Freedom-Fighters in resisting the killers all over the country.
This first news-item broadcast by the BBC. created great enthusiasm among the countrymen. In all the homes in the 68 thousand villages of Bangladesh the disclosure that in Dhaka Mukti Bahini and Mujib Bahini would catch the killers of Bangabandhu and hang them at the race course. Had an electrifying effect? On that day the BBC quoting Mark Tully broadcast that "Mukti Bahini and Mujib Bahini are getting prepared in all the homes and at any moment they may capture Dhaka through a combing operation and they have vowed to avenge the killing of Bangabandhu." Just as this news-item was broadcast by the BBC, over in Bangabhaban the murderer Moshtaq and his accomplices murderer Dalim-Faruq received a jolt. They had additional force brought in from the BDR to guard the Bangabhaban.
This broadcast by the BBC. raised the morale of the Freedom Fighters. Everyone began trying in his own way to build up a mighty resistance against Dalim-Faruq in and around Dhaka. On August 19 in Feni Freedom Fighters upturned railway tracks. The next day, 0n August 20 the Khulna Port was set afire. The same day at Mirpur and Asad Gate bomb was hurled on army truck. Tangail was captured by the Freedom Fighters under the celebrated 1971 hero Kader Siddiqui. In Chittagong under the leadership of Juba League leader SM Yusuf resistance started throughout the district. SM Yusuf's control was so severe that the troops of Chittagong Cantonment retired to their barracks before dark and did not dare to come out till the morning.
On the morning of August 17 at around 9 or 10 a telephonic message was issued from Bangabhaban summoning the newspaper editors of Dhaka. About 10 or 12 editors of Dhaka, led by the senior most Editor Mr Obaidul Huq trooped into the gate of Bangabhaban. After crossing the gate as they reached near the staircase they were kept standing for more than half an hour by some armed men. The Bangladesh Observed editor Mr. Obaidul Huq told the armed guards on behalf of all the editors that they had been invited; if they were not to be let in then they would go away. Hearing this armed guards flew into a rage and ferociously aimed their guns at the guests' chests and shouted "Shut up, shut up bastards, if you say a word, you are dead." The editors faced with these gun-wielding bloodhounds began to tremble in fear. Some, about to lose control of themselves, sat down lie down on the staircase. These revered editors, in consideration of their self-respect, did not disclose the humiliation they had to suffer that day at the hands of these murderers at Bangabhaban.
On August 21, I met Mr Khorshed Alam, Secretary of the Cooperative Division of the Ministry of LGRD in his chamber. He knew that I was a Freedom Fighter and engaged in organising officers of the Mujibnagar Government. Seeing me he wept uttering the name of Bangabandhu. Sensing that he may be endangered, I shut the knob of his chamber's door by pushing the knob. He held me weeping and said weeping "if Bangabandhu did not liberate the country the Punjabi CSP officers would reduce us to the status of shoeshine boys or errand boys to fetch tea for them in this Secretariat. This would be the situation of us Bangalee CSP and EPCS officers."
On that very day, CGS Gen Khaled Mosharraf was demanding leaflets renouicing the claim of killers that Army-Navy-Air force-BDR-Police-Rakkhi Bahini unitedly killed traitor Sheikh Mujib and over thrown his Government. When we failed to print out leaflet from any press of Dhaka, Mr. Ruhul Quddus Principal Secretary to Bangabandhu helped arranged supply of leaflets from Chittagong. He instructed Mr. SM Yusuf of Chittagong from England (during killing of Bangabandhu he was in UK) and he sent two varieties of leaflets packed in four sacks from Chittagong. The leaflets calling for ouster of the government of the murderer Moshtaq-Dalim-Faruq and re-establishment of government based on the Liberation War. The leaflets were duly delivered at Kamlapur station. As it was directed in my name with Bangabhaban address, the station authorities made delivery to me without examining the consignment.
The writer is a War Correspondent of Swadhin Bangla Betar and Former Secretary, Government of Bangladesh