Sheer luck saved the sisters
Sheikh Hasina along with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana escaped the putsch on August 15, 1975 as they were abroad at the time.
But the military backed rulers, who usurped the state power following the first bloody coup of the country, forced them to remain in exile by imposing restrictions on their return home until 1981.
In August 1975, the two sisters -- Hasina and Rehana -- were on a tour in Europe and later took political asylum in India.
Hasina, who had been elected the president of the AL in absentia in 1980, returned home and took charge of the party on May 17, 1981.