Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that she come to know the fate of her parents 20 days after they were assassinated on the fateful night of August 15, 1975 by a group of disgruntled army officers in Dhaka.
Hasina, who survived the military putsch because she was in Europe along with her youngest sister Sheikh Rehana, came up with the information while addressing a discussion marking the 41th anniversary of death of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, her father.
She said she come to know the information from the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Bangabandhu and his family were brutally killed by a section of disgruntled army officers on August 15, 1975, four years after he led a war to liberate Bangladesh from Pakistan.
“We were in complete darkness about the gravity of massacre on August 15, 1975, except the information of a coup. As we arrived in New Delhi on August 24 from Germany and called on Indira Gandhi on September 4, she (Gandhi) told us that none of my parents was alive,” Hasina told the discussion organised at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh.
“My last conversation with my father by phone was on August 13 from the Netherlands when I shared with him the land reclamation process of that country,” Hasina was quoted to have said by state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
The then Bangladesh ambassador to Belgium denied extending any help to her after the coup in Dhaka. “We became a burden on him, though he was politically appointed by Bangabandhu,” she said.
Hasina said as they wanted to return to Germany, the ambassador even denied giving his transport to them. With the help of the first secretary of the embassy and Bangladesh ambassador to Germany Humayun Rashid Chowdhury, they came back to Germany.
The Prime Minister said former Yugoslavian President Marshal Tito enquired about them at that time and expressed his desire to give them shelter. Germany also wanted to give them shelter while Indira Gandhi sent them a message to come to New Delhi.
Hasina was staying with her husband in the residence of Bangladesh ambassador in Belgium on August 15. A telephone call conveyed the message to her husband about the coup in Bangladesh.
They came to know the death of Bangabandhu from television news. But no information was available about the fate of others. “And we had no clear picture of what actually happened in Dhaka,” she said.
Hasina said she and her sister could not return home from New Delhi as the new government which captured power after assassination of Bangabandhu had imposed restriction on their return.
They took political asylum in India as Ziaur Rahman had made arrangement to prevent them from entering the country.