SC denounces Shafiullah's inactive role | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 27, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 27, 2009

SC denounces Shafiullah's inactive role

The Supreme Court yesterday described the then army chief Maj Gen (retd) KM Shafiullah as a coward for failing to take effective measures to save Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, and a liar for misleading about his telephone conversation with Bangabandhu.
The apex court denounced Shafiullah for not taking any effective step to save Bangabandhu even after Bangabandhu had phoned him to send force to resist the attack.
It termed him a liar for providing false information about the time of the telephone conversation between him and Bangabandhu on the day of the heinous killing of Bangabandhu and most of his family members.
The five-member full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Justice Md Tafazzul Islam made the comments following submissions of advocate Abdur Razzaque Khan, counsel for Bangabandhu murder convict Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan.
It was the 17th day of hearing on the appeals of five convicts against their death sentence.
Razzaque told the court that a few army personnel, who played roles during the incidents of August 15, 1975, are now in the custody while some are witnesses and others silent audience. He said those who gave directions and coordinated the killings are now out of the scene.
When the assailants entered his house, Bangabandhu made phone calls to different offices, including the Gonobhaban, Bangabhaban and Rajarbagh police control room, but nobody received the calls, Razzaque said.
Bangabandhu sought assistance from the then army chief Shafiullah over telephone saying the army had attacked his house and perhaps they killed his son Sheikh Kamal. Bangabandhu asked Shafiullah to send forces to his house to resist the attack.
Shafiullah replied, "Sir, can you get out of the house? Let me see what I can do for you." This cannot be a statement of an army chief and is not acceptable, Razzaque said.
He quoted the statements of Shafiullah, saying the telephone conversation between Bangabandhu and Shafiullah took place sometime before 5:00am on August 15, 1975. Shafiullah then ordered Col Shafayat Jamil, then chief of 46 Brigade, and Rakkhi Bahini officials to save Bangabandhu. Shafiullah then telephoned Bangabandhu at 6:00am but the call was not received.
He said that the army chief did not know what his forces were doing on August 15, 1975, and such statement is "nothing but a farce".
At this stage the court asked the lawyer what benefit his client might get from the allegation against the then army chief. Perhaps the army chief was a "coward" or a "liar" or he did not want any bloodshed, it said.
Of those who gave directives and coordinated the incidents of August 15, 1975, Razzaque said the then chief of general staff of the army Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf had played a role at that time. The then BDR chief Khalilur Rahman was appointed the chief of defence staff and Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan was appointed a staff under him on the day of the killings.
All of them played almost similar roles on August 15, 1975, but Sultan Shahriar cannot be accused in this case since he was not physically present at the place of occurrence, argued Shahriar's counsel.
The allegation of hatching the conspiracy to kill Bangabandhu cannot be brought against Sultan Shahriar, he added.
He said the word "conspiracy" is mentioned several times in the High Court verdicts, but the names of the conspirators are not mentioned. There is no charge of criminal conspiracy against his client, he added.
The lawyer said declaration of the martial law is always illegal and unconstitutional. The full statements and evidence of this case should be reviewed so that such incidents cannot take place further.
The Appellate Division adjourned the hearing until 9:30am today.

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