Bangladesh will again mourn Sheikh Mujib

August 11th, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 11 (IANS) After six years, Bangladesh will again observe Aug 15 as National Mourning Day to mark the assassination of its founding father and first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. The day would also be a public holiday, the council of advisers decided at a meeting chaired by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed Sunday.

The caretaker government had refrained from deciding on this sensitive issue last year, but a high court ruling last month helped the matter, reported the New Age.

Twenty-eight people, including Mujib and all but two of his family, were killed in a military putsch on Aug 15, 1975.

After months of turmoil, power was seized by Gen. Ziaur Rahman, who ruled as the president till he was himself killed in another military coup on May 30, 1981.

In 1996, the government of Mujib’s surviving elder daughter Sheikh Hasina had declared Aug 15 National Mourning Day.

However, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) government of Ziaur Rahman’s widow, Begum Khaleda Zia, cancelled it in 2002. It was challenged through a public interest petition, leading to a high court bench on July 27 ruling that the decision was illegal.

It also declared illegal the changes made by the alliance government to the Bangladesh Flag Rules 1972, cancelling the hoisting of the national flag at half-mast to pay respect to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the day.

Zia’s BNP has demanded that May 30 should also be declared a day of mourning.

Three decades after Mujib’s killing, some of military men involved are abroad, while those nabbed and convicted are awaiting verdict on their appeal.

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