Dhaka, Nov 3 (bdnews24.com) — Jail Killing Day, one of the black spots in the nation's history, is being observed throughout the country on Wednesday.
On this day in 1975, four leaders of the wartime national government—acting president Syed Nazrul Islam, prime minister Tajuddin Ahmed and cabinet ministers M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman—were brutally killed inside Dhaka Central Jail.
The assassins, believed to be the mastermind of the 1975 coup, stormed the jail and shot dead the four leaders, just three months after murdering Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
Bangladesh Awami League and other political and social organisations are observing the day with due solemnity through different programmes in the capital and throughout the country.
The programmes include wearing black of badges and hoisting black flags to pay tributes to the slain national leaders.
The national flag was raised at half-mast on the day at Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi and at offices of Bangladesh Awami League in Dhaka and elsewhere across the country.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and other key figures of Awami League placed wreaths on the portrait of Bangabandhu in front of Bangabandhu Bhaban at 7am.
Local Government and Rural Development minister Syed Ashraful Islam, talking to reporters after the wreath laying, pointed an accusing finger at former president and founder of BNP, Ziaur Rahman, as the instigator of the shootout that killed the four national leaders.
"Later, Rahman's widow Khaleda Zia has been trying to save the killers," he alleged.
He boldly spelt out that the killers of the four leaders would have to face trial, whoever they were.
Earlier, wreathes were placed at the grave of three national leaders along with others who were killed on August 15, 1975 at Banani graveyard.
Wreaths were also placed on the grave of Kamruzzaman in Rajshahi early on the day.
A discussion meeting will be held to commemorate the four national leaders at Bngabandhu International Conference Centre at 3pm which prime minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend.
President Zillur Rahman and prime minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages to mark the day.
The president, in his message, urged the people to turn their grief into strength. "The nation will always remember them for their heroic role in the liberation war," he said.
Hasina, in her message, said the power usurpers attempted to wipe out Awami League from the political arena by killing the four leaders. "They wanted to make the country leaderless," she said.
A High Court verdict handed down on October 20, 2004, during the tenure of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government, sentenced 15 of the 20 accused in the jail killing incident.
Of them, three were sentenced to death in the case and 12 others were awarded life imprisonment.
Risalder Mosleh Uddin, Dafader Sharafat Ali and Abul Hossain Mridha were given death sentences. Later the High Court upheld the death sentence of just one.
But the current Awami League government has sought to appeal, challenging the High Court verdict, which is now pending.