<i>Joy, at long last</i>
Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, one of the few survivors of the August 15 bloodbath, yesterday described the verdict in Bangabandhu murder case as the best birthday gift he ever got.
“Today is my birthday and the highest court of the land has given me the best gift by delivering this judgment,” said Taposh, whose parents Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni and Arzoo Moni were among those killed on August 15, 1975.
“My parents could not celebrate my birthday in 1975,” he continued as tears brimmed over.
Yesterday was his 38th birthday.
A lawmaker from the capital, Taposh was talking to reporters after the Appellate Division upheld the death sentences of 12 convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family.
Describing the judgment as a watershed in the judiciary's history, he said it will help establish the rule of law in the country.
This will be one of the most fondly remembered days in the annals of the nation as justice has been served to allow the departed soul of the Father of the Nation rest in peace, he said.
Later in the day, he told The Daily Star that he and his elder brother Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash had a miraculous escape from the carnage at their Dhanmondi residence.
“They killed my parents in a hail of bullets and left, while we were still in the bedroom next to the scene,” he said, recounting the horror-filled hours of August 15.
“Later, our aunt [Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim's wife] took us away to safety.”
The killers did not go much inside the residence of Sheikh Moni, nephew of Bangabandhu.
Had they searched like they did in Bangabandhu's house, he and his brother would not have been alive, he continued.
His mother was killed trying to save his father who he thinks was the target of the killers.
“Bangabandhu struggled for 24 long years to win the nation independence, and it's a shame that we had to beg from door to door for 34 years for trial of his killers,” observed Taposh.
In his reaction, Abul Hasnat Abdullah, a nephew of Bangabandhu, yesterday said the verdict has freed the nation from a great disgrace.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Rehana and Sajeeb Wazed Joy said the verdict in Bangabandhu murder case would put an end to the culture of impunity, which was created by the subsequent governments after the August 15, 1975 assassination.
They are grateful to the Supreme Court and also to the people of Bangladesh for the verdict, they said.
"I am very much happy with the Supreme Court judgment," Joy told The Daily Star over telephone last night. The grandson of Bangabandhu also said he is likely to come home within one or two months.
"We all waited 34 years for this day, " Joy said.
Joy had talked over phone to his mother Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, and his aunt Sheikh Rehana, one of the two daughters of Sheikh Mujib.
"She [Sheikh Rehana] is also very happy to hear the verdict," said Joy.