Mohammad Zainal Abedin: Since the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman a question has haunted me for a longtime: who was the mastermind of his tragic death? Analyzing for years, the then politico-socio-economic scenarios, Indo-Bangladesh relationship, above all India’s longstanding agenda centering the Muslim homeland Pakistan and its dream for Akhand Bharat, I came to this conclusion that India’s late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the hidden, but core, mastermind of killing Mujib, a trusted ally of India. Still Indira through RAW prepared the ground to isolate Mujib from people. RAW created anarchic situation in Bangladesh, which ultimately paved the way for his gruesome murder on the night of August 15, 1975.
Mujib was used
Historically Mujib was not in the books of India, as he was an active activist of forming a Muslim Homeland in the subcontinent, named Pakistan. Though Mujib broke Pakistan, many Indian analysts had suspicious views against him, arguing he did not shun his spirit of Muslim nationalism.
An impassionate analysis shows India factually used Sheikh Mujib to divide and weaken Muslim power of the subcontinent and instantly to merge East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) with India and subsequently West Pakistan (now Pakistan) also. (Please see > India, Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh & Pakistan > a political Realities, by Sashanka S. Banerjee)
Mujib: a threat to India
Indira Gandhi felt perturbed when Mujib came back alive to lead the new country — Bangladesh. She was sure Pakistan would never keep him alive for his treacherous anti-Pakistan role. But the reality was entirely opposite to her assumption.
Mujib’s arrival to Bangladesh upset India’s entire blueprint of instantly grabbing Bangladesh. Indira found Mujib’s sky-high popularity among his people, worldwide acceptability, and obstinate personality scared her. She considered Mujib as an imminent danger to India’s interest and its territorial integrity.
Besides, Mujib discarded the agreement India signed with the exiled- government led by Tajuddin Ahmad during the liberation war India. It was really a subservient agreement having 7-ponts, which was a weapon to reduce Bangladesh to a stellate of India. According to this treaty the Indian army would stay in Bangladesh for an unlimited period; Bangladesh would not raise professional armed forces and India would deter external threats (if any) directed against Bangladesh, its foreign policy would be reciprocal and complementary to that of India, etc.
Mujib never recognized or implemented any conditions of this most detrimental treaty. As a symbol of a sovereign country he formed three branches of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. He without consulting India welcomed Pakistan PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was awarded a rousing reception in Dhaka. Mujib went to Lahore to attend the summit of OIC in 1974 that made India most furious.
In the same year (May, 74), Mujib visited India, when Mujib went to India on a state visit. During that visit a MoU was signed between the two countries. After signing the MoU there held an internal briefing at the official residence of V.V. Giri, the then Indian President.
Recalling the scenario of that briefing, the then Acting Water Resources Secretary, Asafuddowla said at the seminar held at National Press Club of Dhaka said, in presence of Indira Gandhi, Indian foreign minister Swaran Singh asked Bangabandhu saying, “Mr. Prime Minister, we had an understanding that we would cooperate and coordinate with each other on our foreign matters. But when you go to Pakistan, you neither cooperate nor coordinate with us. As a result, Indian people would have misunderstood ——”. Asafuddowla said, “ Before Swaran Singh could finish his question, Bangabandhu thumbed on the table so hard that the coffee cup overflowed the table roaring, “ Mr. Charon Singh don’t teach me subcontinental politics. I know the difference between subordination and coordination. I am the Prime Minister of a sovereign country which is the second largest Muslim country. I can go anywhere in the world whether it is Lahore or Islamabad. I don’t require anybody’s permission to go anywhere.”
Mujib’s vocal reply scared, as well, annoyed Indira. Analyzing Mujib’s records since the Pakistan movement to 1974, she, enjoying the support of the Soviet Union, undertook a drastic decision of vanishing him from the world. A former KGB operative, named Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmeno confessed in an interview that the Soviet Union was actively behind Indira.
Symptoms of India’s involvement in killing Mujib
In most cases, the main perpetrators of such gruesome killings remain anonymous. But in the case of Mujib, the main culprit failed to keep her hidden. Prevailing situations and her activities brought her to the limelight.
Just after the killing of Mujib, India instantly welcomed and recognized the new government of Khondaker Moshtaq Ahmad. The then Indira Gandhi government did not send any condolence message to the bereaved family of Sheikh Mujib, or mourned his death, or hoist black flag anywhere in India. India even did not honor an internationally established diplomatic norm of sending a condolence message to the government of Bangladesh, or issued any statement in the press condemning or condoning the tragic killing of the Mujib family.
Such a strange behavior of India (a trusted friend of Bangladesh), centering the killing of Mujib, justifies its involvement. Indira’s further action uncovers her real face. Annada Shankar Roy, an eminent litterateur of West Bengal of India, was not allowed to publish a poem in the ‘Desh’ (weekly Bengali magazine) mourning the assassination Mujib. Being unable to print it he sought the help of the then Chief Minister of West Bengal Siddhartha Shankar Ray. The Chief Minister sent it to Indira Gandhi along with an English translation. Indira’s reply was, “India would not disturb the Moshtaq government in any way.”
Such a reply indicates Indira’s involvement with the killing of Mujib. The reply aggrieved and shocked Annada Shankar Roy who later exposed Indira’s ugly face saying:
“India wanted to show that it is entirely neutral in the internal affairs of Bangladesh. The national flag (of India) was not kept at half-mast after the brutal murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, with whom Mrs. Indira Gandhi had a deep friendship. National Mourning Day or Week was not observed (in India). Mrs. Gandhi neither opened her tongue for three days to express her grief (at the murder of Mujib) nor allowed others to mourn” (Mujib’s death).
Accusing Indira Annada wrote, (She) “imposed strict censorship (on press to deter the people’s reaction at the killing of Mujib). (Source: ‘কাঁদো, প্রিয় দেশ’ > ‘Weep, Dear Country’, p. 54)
“Though mourning was allowed, yet condemnation remained prohibited. We the writers were not dumb, rather we were kept speechless.”
India sheltered the Killers
The very shelter provided in India to, at least, two killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib unequivocally proved that India was directly involved in killing him. BBC on April 12, 2020 informed Abdul Majed, a killer who continued to live in Bangladesh after the killing of Mujib. “——— but it is believed he fled to India in 1996 when Mrs. Hasina was elected prime minister.” Question normally surfaces how Majed could sneak to India and stayed there for 22 years, till he was till he was seen walking on the streets of Mirpur Dhaka and arrested therein.
‘The New Indian Express’ (April 8, 2020) further added, “.. .. .. he had obtained documents to prove himself as an Indian citizen and got a passport” of India.
Earlier Indian media outlet ‘Northeast India Now’ (April 20, 2020) quoting Indian law enforcing agencies claiming, they nabbed Risaldar Mosleuddin from a bordering town Bongaon adjacent to Bangladesh and later handed him over to Bangladesh. He ran a medical shop in India (R. Republicworld. Com, April 23, 2020). How was it possible without the clandestine support of the Indian government? Indian officials declared these two fugitives as (India’s) ‘gifts of Mujib Borsho’ (gift of Mujib year).’
How can India compensate the murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? Can India avoid or bury its responsibility of killing Bangabandhu? Above all, how can the current followers of Mujib, could claim India a friend of blood or a friend in need?
I want to invite India to discard my narratives, or prove my arguments as baseless and inform the world the real ones?
Ø Mohammad Zainal Abedin is a Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher.
Ø August 19, 2021