Bangladesh tight-lipped over India ‘handover’ of Bangabandhu’s killer
April 22nd, 2020 at 9:13 pm
Bangladesh tight-lipped over India ‘handover’ of Bangabandhu’s killer

Nadeem Qadir

Bangladesh was tight-lipped over reports on Wednesday that neighbouring India has handed over a man who has “striking resemblance” to Risaldar Moslehuddin, one of the most wanted man of this South Asian country for killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family on 15th August 1975.

He was found guilty in court for the shooting dead Bangabandhu, his wife and one of their sons, Sheikh Jamal, a Sandhurst-trained army captain.

Reports from India on Wednesday said intelligence agencies of that country handed him over to Bangladesh after arresting him from Bongaon town in West Bengal bordering Bangladesh.

Indian private broadcaster NDTV reported that Risalder Moslehuddin was handed over to Bangladesh on Monday at an undisclosed land border crossing.

When initial reports about the operation emerged along with photos and videos of the suspect, there was a lot of confusion about his identity because some sources claimed the man in the photo — who was allegedly Moslehuddin — had died a few years ago.

Bangladesh liberation politics
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Bangladesh’s liberation struggle

But apparently Bangladesh “used highly sophisticated facial recognition technology” to confirm that the arrested man was Moslehuddin, the wanted killer of Bangabandhu, reported NDTV.

However, Bangladesh has maintained secrecy. Powerful ruling Awami League lawmakers neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying they were “very happy” to learn about the arrest of Risaldar Moslehuddin.

“His death verdict should be carried out as soon as he is handed over to Bangladesh … It is a good news and I am very happy like all other Bangladeshis,” RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury, a senior ruling party lawmaker, told this correspondent.

Mrinal Kanti Das, MP, said: “his execution will be another step to remove the shame the country is burdened with as all of Bangabandhu’s killers are yet to be executed as per the verdict of the Supreme Court.”

According to reports Risalder Mosleuddin owned an herbal medicine shop and, a news portal that broke the story, said another convicted killer of Bangabandhu – dismissed army captain Abdul Majed, hanged on April 12, 2020 after he was arrested from Dhaka, according to police, gave out Moslehuddin’s whereabouts.

The reported intelligence operation to track Moslehuddin was conducted under deep cover by top agencies and even the West Bengal police was unaware of the operation, NDTV, quoted sources as saying.

Bangabandhu, the founding father of Bangladesh, was killed along with most of his family in a bloody coup led by a group of disgruntled army men on 15 August 1975.

His daughters current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana survived as they were abroad at that time. 

Moslemuddin, who had been on the run since 1996 when Sheikh Hasina came to power for the first time, was reportedly arrested from North 24 Parganas in West Bengal after receiving leads during interrogation of Majed, according to Indian media reports.

The Supreme Court on November 19, 2009, upheld the death sentences of Abdul Majed and 11 other self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu. Of them, five were executed on January 27, 2010.

They were Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, and Mohiuddin Ahmed. Meanwhile, another killer, Aziz Pasha, died in Zimbabwe in 2001.

The trial process began in 1996 when an indemnity law, which was enacted by General Ziaur Rahman, the late founder of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), protecting the assassins from trial.

Six other convicts including Abdul Majed remained at large. After the arrest of Majed, five more killers still remain fugitives from law — Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haque Dalim, Noor Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Risaldar Moslehuddin Khan, who is now reportedly under custody.

To locate and bring them back, a taskforce comprising of ministers and high officials of the foreign, law, and home ministries was formed in 2010. Rashed was traced in the US and Noor in Canada.