Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday accused military dictator Ziaur Rahman and his wife Khaleda Zia of resorting to the politics of killings and enacting indemnity laws to save the murderers of Bangabandhu and Awami League (AL) leaders and activists.
"After assuming office through the October 1, 2001 farcical national election, Khaleda Zia had started indiscriminate killings of people following the footsteps of her husband Ziaur Rahman," she said.
Referring to the killing of numerous innocent people, including AL leaders and workers, in the name of the so-called "Operation Clean Heart", Sheikh Hasina, also the AL president, said that the BNP-Jamaat alliance government initiated the culture of extrajudicial killings in the country through it.
The prime minister said this while taking part in a virtual discussion through a videoconference from her official Ganabhaban residence marking the National Mourning Day and the 45th anniversary of martyrdom of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangladesh Awami League organised the discussion at its central office at Bangabandhu Avenue here this afternoon.
Pointing to the inhuman torture on Masum, a resident of Khulna and also a maternal cousin of Sheikh Helal, and killing of hundreds of people, the premier said in the name of "Operation Clean Heart", the law enforcers made blanket arrests of people and inflicted inhuman torture on them.
Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia had given indemnity to wholesale killings after assuming office in 2001 so that trials of those crimes could not be held as her husband did the same thing with giving indemnity to the murderers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The premier said that the then BNP-Jamaat nexus even ransacked the research office of her party with looting its computers, 300 files, books and cash.
She went on saying: "Khaleda Zia not only allowed indemnity to the people who conducted Operation Clean Heart, but also gave promotion to Bangabandhu killer Pasha after his death and also gave benefits of jobs to his (Pasha) family.
In this context, the prime minister said Khaleda Zia also gave promotion to Khairuzzaman, a murder case accused and questioned, "What does it mean?"
Sheikh Hasina accused again Ziaur Rahman of his involvement in the killing of Bangabandhu, saying that he gave all sorts of support to the murderers.
"Zia even gave lucrative foreign postings to the killers of Bangabandhu, while Zia's wife [Khaleda] brought self-confessed killer of Bangabandhu to parliament by rigging votes," she added.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, MP, gave an introductory speech while the party's Publicity and Publication Secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, MP, moderated the function.
AL Presidium Member Advocate Jahangir Kabir Nanok central committee member AKM Jahangir Hossain, Dhaka North City AL President Sheikh Bazlur Rahman and Dhaka South City AL President Abu Ahammed Mannafi spoke on the occasion.
At the outset of the discussion, a minute's silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memories of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangabandhu's killers were leading a lavish life after getting jobs in different foreign missions and government services when the relatives of the martyrs had to stay abroad as refugees after the August 15 carnage.
"The killers were also out to kill remaining members of the famlies of August 15 martyrs," she said.
The prime minister said Khandaker Moshtaque promoted Ziaur Rahman as the army chief. "If Zia was not involved in the killing of Bangabandhu, why Khandaker Moshtaque made him army chief?" she questioned.
Sheikh Hasina said Ziaur Rahman denied to give visa to British MP Tomas Williams to visit Bangladesh as a representative of the international commission formed to investigate the August 15 carnage.
"The refusal proved Zia's involvement in the killing of Bangabandhu," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the countrymen will have to think that on the soil of Bangladesh, the traitors like Mir Zafar and Khandaker Moshtaque were born and the people like 'killer Zia' has come time and again.
"But they couldn't cling to power for a long time as they grabbed it through conspiracy and illegal ways," she added.
The premier recalled that the distortion of the history of the liberation war started when Zia grabbed state power by violating the constitution.
Accusing Ziaur Rahman of his engagement in many killings and conspiracies, Sheikh Hasina said, "Coups took place one after another during Zia's military rule and thousands of the freedom fighter army officers were killed in these coups and they didn't know what their offence was."
The prime minister said Bangabandhu's name was erased from the history at that time and a false history was created to misguide the people.
"But nobody can erase the truth forever and it has now been proved before the entire world and the people of Bangladesh," she said.
The premier said Bangabandhu gave an independent Bangladesh and the country is advancing and will continue to move further socioeconomically.
She said her government would do whatever required to bring smiles on the face of distressed people with giving them a better life as the Father of the Nation dreamt that the people of Bangladesh will get food, housing, clothes and other basic needs.
"Let's take a vow together on the martyrdom anniversary of the Father of the Nation and our other family members," the premier said.
"Father, we are giving you words that we'll bring smiles on the faces of distressed people of your Bangla. This Bangla will move forward keeping its head high in the world and the people of Bangladesh will get a better life, it's is our promise and oath (to the Father of the Nation)," added Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of Bangabandhu.
The premier said that since his party assuming office has been relentlessly working to change the fortune of the country's people, saying, "It is the people of Bangladesh for whom he (Bangabandhu) did politics."
The AL president thanked her party leaders and activists and its associate and front bodies for standing beside the helpless people up to union and ward levels across the country during the Covid-19 crisis.
She stressed the need for publishing a list of AL men who died of and infected with the Covid-19 as they stood by the people going to the fields.
"We don't see any other political party, organisation or any other helping the people in such a way," she added.
Referring to the ongoing flood, Sheikh Hasina said that many people are now being affected by the deluge and reiterated that none will remain homeless in the country.