November 7, 1975 — Not a Coup, an Act by Miscreants
November 7th, 2020 at 12:45 pm
November 7, 1975 — Not a Coup, an Act by Miscreants

On Friday, 15 August 1975, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family except two daughters was assassinated by unruly army officers. Some call it a military coup.

In fact, there was no military coup in the country on 15 August, there were chaos, anarchy and a surprise attack by miscreants.

Almost all those who did so on that day were already expelled for breach of discipline in the military. This personal aggression of theirs was exploited by the reactionary group of the country, the anti-liberation force.

Because at that time Bangladesh under the leadership of Bangabandhu set began its journey on the socialist path which the imperialists could never accept. Thus their elements still criticize the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BKSAL). Bangabandhu BASAL was a democracy of the exploited, not a bourgeois democracy.

After the assassination of Bangabandhu on 15 August 1975, the real character of Major General Ziaur Rahman was exposed. He gradually became the most powerful person in the country by using various tactics. In this regard, Lt. Col. Rashid, the killer of Bangabandhu, said in an interview with the international media that Zia wanted to be the President of Bangladesh at any cost.

He was too young to be president. This is what Rashid has tried to explain to him many times. He told him to be patient, but Zia remained “stubborn and tenacious.”

Martial Law was declared again with Chief Justice Chief Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem as Chief Martial Law Administrator and Chief of Army Staff Ziaur Rahman, Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshal MG Tawab and Chief of Naval Staff Real Admiral MH Khan were appointed as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrators.

But the real power lay within the cantonment in Zia’s hands. So, Zia later cancelled the election announced by President Sayem, who was again just a puppet of Bangabandhu’s killers. Without further ado, Ziaur Rahman became President on 2 April 1977, after forcing President Sayem to quit. Zia was only 41 years old at that time. In the end, General Ziaur Rahman realized his dream walking over the blood of Bangabandhu and many others.

It is worth mentioning here that many of my political friends were forced to leave the country in January 1977, three months before Ziaur Rahman openly took power. Because Zia’s followers in the military by then had started arresting, torturing and even assassinating leaders and activists of the Awami League and its Juba League, Sramik League and Chhatra League.

Many disagreed with the Sepoy Mutiny of retired colonel Abu Taher on 7 November 1975. Observers believe that he fell into his own trap. Soldiers killed many officers inside the cantonment that day because of the rise of ordinary troops. Many directly blame Taher for the killings of these innocent officers. At that time many officers were forced to flee the cantonment to save themselves.

Meanwhile, if Taher had not led the soldier’s mutiny on 7 November, Zia, a prisoner, would have had to face trial for the murder of Bangabandhu. The reason for Khaled Musharraf’s arrest on November 3 without directly killing Zia was to bring out all the secrets of Bangabandhu’s assassination from Zia himself. But that opportunity did not succeed because of Taher.

Taher’s sepoy revolt turned everything upside down. Later, when Zia was tried, Taher freed him like a hero. After the release of cunning Zia, he took the opportunity to hang Taher, the heroic freedom fighter who saved his life.

Considering from the historical point of view, it can be seen that 7 November 1975 was in fact a sepoy mutiny led by the extreme leftwing Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) backed by Taher and named Sepoy Janata Biplob (Soldiers’ Peoples Revolution).

It was this so-called revolution, Zia was freed from captivity and made him the army chief.

After Zia became the army chief, retired colonel Taher’s soldiers did not allow the other plans of the people’s revolution to succeed. Thus the day can be considered a “historic day” for JSD and not even the opposition Bangladesh Party (BNP), founded by Zia and currently being led by his widow Khaleda Zia, out on parole after being jailed for graft.

But thanks to distorted and false history, BNP is celebrating the day now. They say their leader Zia was released from prison on this day. Absolutely true. If so, who made released him? On this day, the BNP does not even mention the name of Taher, the liberator of their party founder Ziaur Rahman. Yet, another act of ungratefulness like Zia who hanged Taher.

After 1975, this is how the people of the country were led to believe in a distorted history. If 7 November is to be remembered by the BNP, then they must first recall and recognize with respect Taher, who saved and freed Zia from captivity.

But is the BNP doing that? Not at all. Because in fact, their leader Zia will have to face the death penalty. That demand is being made now by the leaders of JSD including former Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu.

In order to seize power, Zia has ordered the killing of anyone he suspected to be against him in cold blood. His bloodbath began with the hanging of Taher. Later, many other army officers, some of whom war heroes, were killed.

The last word is that a sepoy mutiny led by Taher, cannot be a day the way BNP marks this day. Only JSD can remember the incidents of 7 November 1975 in memory of its leader.

If the BNP marks it as Zia’s Liberation Day, then Zia’s liberator Taher should also be remembered with due respect and dignity.

People can no longer be deceived by spreading false and distorted history. So, the best thing for the BNP will be to move away from celebrating 7 November and not involved in a dubious politics.

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Omer Sher is a retired Professor of Economics at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada and a researcher on politics in South Asia.