In early June 1981, three days after the assassination of General Ziaur Rahman, then President of Bangladesh, Major General Mohammed Abul Manzur was murdered while in Army custody inside the Chittagong Cantonment. The preponderance of evidence indicates that General Manzur was slain by a high-ranking military officer who was dispatched from Dhaka with one mission only: to assassinate Manzur.
This is the conclusion of a long investigation by Lawrence Lifschultz that is based, in part, on the testimony of an eyewitness. The question now is will his killers finally be identified and put on trial thirty-three years after this distinguished veteran of the Liberation War was ruthlessly murdered.
Lifschultz concludes that Manzur was wrongly, yet intentionally, framed and vilified for General Zia's murder by a tight knit group of repatriated officers, as part of an operation to remove him from his position in the Army. By doing so they could proceed unhindered with a purge of the veterans of the Liberation War from the Bangladesh Army and thereby remove the final obstacle to their consolidation of power. Trials, confessions extracted by brutal torture, executions and a targeted purge of “Mukti Bahini” Army officers from the officer corps immediately followed Manzur's death.
Manzur's hope of clearing his name of the slander set lose against him by General Ershad and his entourage was foreclosed by one man entering Manzur's cell and killing him with a single bullet to the head. It is time for a responsible Court in Bangladesh to learn the identity of the man who pulled the trigger that ended Manzur's life and thereby facilitated the imposition of a military dictatorship in Bangladesh for the decade that followed.
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