'AL responsible for Bangabandhu killing'

2 factions of JSD hit back at Ashraf who accused it of creating grounds for Aug 15 bloodbath; Inu says this is no time for 'mudslinging'
Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam says the door for dialogue is needed to be kept open for the sake of politics. Star file photo

Two factions of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal yesterday said it was the Awami League, not the JSD, which was responsible for the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The factions -- one led by ASM Abdur Rob and the other by Sharif Nurul Ambia -- came up with the claim a day after AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam slammed the JSD for its role after the country's independence.

Referring to Ashraf's comments, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu, who leads another JSD faction, a component of AL-led 14-party combine, has said the prime minister should intervene to put an end to “political mudslinging” between the alliance partners to keep the unity intact.

Earlier on Monday, Ashraf said his party may have to repent for inducting a JSD member into the cabinet, and accused the JSD of making grounds for Bangabandhu's assassination.

In a statement yesterday, JSD (Rob faction) said the AL itself was behind the killing of Bangabandhu.

Rob, also founding general secretary of the erstwhile undivided JSD, alleged that the four national leaders were assassinated on instructions from AL leaders.

Protesting Ashraf's comment, he said it was the AL, which had formed government after Bangabandhu's assassination. And its leaders took oath as ministers, leaving Bangabandhu's body at Road 32 in Dhanmondi.

The JSD faction led by Sharif Nurul Ambia and Nazmul Haque Prodhan termed Ashraf's comment unexpected.

In a joint statement, they said Bangabandhu was assassinated under the leadership of Khandaker Mostaque Ahmed and patronisation of some other AL leaders.

"When we are trying to unite against secret killings, militancy and criminal activities, such a statement by Syed Ashraf is misleading and embarrassing for Jasad [JSD] leaders," they said.

Also yesterday, addressing a programme in Jhenidah, Inu urged AL leaders not to indulge in mudslinging against any of their alliance partners.

"This is not the time for history lessons. We all should try to keep intact the unity of the alliance," the JSD president said.

He added that the AL included the JSD in the alliance after assessing pre- and post-1975 situations.

Inu also urged his party leaders and activists not to get confused by anyone's provocation.

At another programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club, Shirin Akter, general secretary of the JSD (Inu faction), said mudslinging among the 14-party alliance partners would ruin its unity.

“Let's fortify the unity of the alliance further to ensure security of citizens and tackle secret killings," she said at the programme organised to protest a death threat to Inu.

JSD leader and Dhaka University professor Anwar Hossain said, “I request the prime minister to restrain her deputy. He is making confusing comments, which may jeopardise the unity of the alliance at this critical point."

The JSD, which saw splits on quite a few occasions since its birth in 1972, now has three factions led by Inu, Sharif and Rob. The two factions led by Sharif and Inu are components of the ruling 14-party combine.

According to AL sources, several veteran AL leaders talked to Ashraf about his comments on the JSD before the meeting of AL's parliamentary board at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban last night.

Ashraf, who was present there, told them he didn't say anything wrong, and that he just pointed out historical facts.

However, there was no discussion on the issue after Sheikh Hasina joined the meeting.

In an interview with BBC Bangla last night, 14-party spokesperson Mohammed Nasim said Ashraf's comments would not affect the alliance since it is united and would remain so in the future.

"It would have been better if Ashraf had not made such a statement," said Nasim, also the health minister.

Responding to a query, he said the alliance with the JSD is not only an electoral alliance, but also an ideological one.

Talking to The Daily Star, four senior AL leaders said they had no idea why Ashraf had made such a statement.

But all of them said Ashraf is not the kind of person who would say something like this by accident, and that there must be a reason behind it.

At a programme in the capital, AL Presidium Member Obaidul Quader said that Ashraf's comment on the JSD was his personal opinion.

Ashraf's statement didn't reflect the views of the AL or the government, added Quader, also road transport and bridges minister.

Joining the debate, Kazi Firoz Rashid, lawmaker from the main opposition Jatiya Party, said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may even bring secret killers to parliament someday”, as she brought the JSD to the House and made its leader a minister. 

Pointing to Ashraf's comment that the AL may have to repent for inducting a JSD member into the cabinet, Firoz said the AL leader had said the right thing.

"The prime minister can stomach everything… even poison... Jasad [JSD] is now in parliament. It seems to me that in the future, she [Hasina] may bring to parliament those now engaged in secret killings," the JP lawmaker said in the House speaking on a point of order.

"We were in Chhatra League. We had fought together in the Liberation War. Suddenly, he [Inu] took up arms against us after the independence," he said, claiming the JSD had killed 20 lakh people after the country's independence.

Last year, several AL leaders, including Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Mahbubul Alam Hanif and Bahauddin Nasim slated the JSD, and accused the party of creating grounds for Bangabandhu's assassination in 1975.


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