The death of Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad has drawn thousands of reactions on the social media ranging from emotional farewells to blistering attacks for his past activities.
The 90-year-old deposed military dictator breathed his last at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka around 7:45am on Sunday.
People from all walks of life, including teachers, political activists, journalists, government services holders, as well as his friends and family members, started expressing their reactions on Facebook as soon as the news of death spread.
‘We will never meet again’
Bidisha Ershad, the former wife of Ershad, bade him an emotional farewell through a Facebook post from Ajmer Sharif in India.
"We will never meet again in this life. I came to Ajmer Sharif and you passed away. We may meet in a new world, where there will be no politics.”
“Ershad is the epitome of the shameless nature of my country”
Highlighting his past activities, a professor at the University of Dhaka came down heavily on the former dictator.
“Ershad had made Islam the state religion,” said Kaberi Gayen, chairman of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, in a Facebook post. “Thus people belonging to other religions were made second class citizens constitutionally.”
She said Ershad was thrown out of power through a public uprising. “The state religion has not been scrapped. He has been used as a means of going to power of those who deposed him from power.”
“I see Ershad as an epitome of the shameless nature of my country. And the system that accommodates the world’s shameless person is even more shameless,” she added.
“So, I have no concern with the death of Ershad.”
“An autocracy that was so very essential part of democrazy!!!”
A senior journalist ridiculed the former dictator for derailing the political system of the country.
“An autocracy that was so very essential part of democrazy!!!,” Reaz Ahmed, executive editor of the Dhaka Tribune, an English daily, said in a Facebook post.
“At least he died a free man”
A proprietor of a photography institute in Dhaka blasted Ershad for his failure in different areas.
“At least he died a free man. In my judgment, he is an example of complete failure,” said Din M Shibly, founding principal of Chhaya Institute of Communication and Photography.
“Ershad will be remembered in both ways”
JE Mamun, chief executive editor at the ATN Bangla, wrote on his Facebook, “Before and after 1990’s, Ershad will be remembered in both ways.”
‘I am announcing with a great joy Ershad is dead’
A man in his 60s and left activist expressed satisfaction at the death of the former dictator.
“I am announcing with a great joy that the world’s shameless Ershad has just expired,” said Mukul Rahman, a man involved in the anti-Ershad movement in 1990s.
“The people of the entire country are happy at the death of Ershad – the killer of Ayub, Mozammel, Zafar, Zaynal, Dipali Saha, Shahjahan Siraj, Dr Milon and hundreds of students.”
‘At least one head of state dies a natural death’
“Death is not a matter of joy for anyone. But I am happy Ershad uncle died a natural death. At least one head of state of this country has died a natural death for the first time in history,” Piyas Roy, a Facebook user wrote.
‘There is no way one could deny his contribution to this country’
Z Rahman Milky wrote on his Facebook, “Not speaking from any political perspective but this is the man who shaped the Bangladesh, the Dhaka we live in now.
Whatever his political position was, here in Bangladesh, and whatever his personal life was, doesn't even matter to me. I was born when he was the president, or during his dictatorship, you could say. There is no way one could deny his contribution to this country. Rest in peace legend.”
‘Despite being a dictator, you have enjoyed people’s love’
A government official spoke of his childhood memory of Ershad and wished him a peaceful eternal life.
“His passing away reminds me of childhood memories,” said Anwar Parvez, a manager at the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza). “Despite being a dictator, you have enjoyed love from people that few receive.”