Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today described Bangladesh's first military ruler Ziaur Rahman as "real villain" of the August 15, 1975 plot while years later his wife Khaleda Zia emerged as another such figure as the August 21, 2004 grenade attack was carried out.
The premier tended to compare the two incidents with the first one killing Bangabandhu along with most of his family members while the second plot was aimed to eliminate her alongside senior Awami League leaders.
"The real villain behind the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was Ziaur Rahman," she told a virtual discussion marking the National Mourning Day and the 45th martyrdom anniversary of Bangabandhu.
The premier said Zia became the main beneficiary of the carnage as he simultaneously emerged as the president and army chief after Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed's ouster from power while convicted killers Farook and Rashid in their interviews to the BBC described his involvement in the plot.
Bangabandhu's birth centenary celebration national implementation committee organised the discussion at the International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) here while the premier joined it from her official residence Ganabhaban through a videoconference.
Sheikh Hasina said that Khandaker Moshtaque made Zia as the army chief after proclaiming himself the president grabbing the state power with the help of Zia, Rashid, Farook, Dalim and others immediately after Father of the Nation's assassination.
"Zia's appointment as the army chief by Moshtaq was another evidence of his (Zia's) involvement in the August 15, 1975 carnage," she said.
The prime minister said Khaleda Zia staged the August 21, 2004 barbaric grenade attack on an anti-terrorism rally of the Awami League to make the party bankrupt in leadership following her husband's footsteps.
She said the killers had assassinated Bangabandhu as they failed to isolate him from the masses spearheading propaganda against him.
"The main purpose of the heinous crime was to foil the goal for which Bangladesh was liberated," said Sheikh Hasina, the elder daughter of Bangabandhu.
The prime minister said killers Farook and Rashid told in an interview with the BBC that they had tried for long to separate Bangabandhu from the people but failing to do that, they killed him.
AL Advisory Council Member and former minister Amir Hossain Amu, MP, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq and noted historian Abu Md. Delwar Hossain spoke on the occasion from the IMLI.
Chairman of Bangabandhu's birth centenary celebration national implementation committee National Professor Dr Rafiqul Islam gave vote of thanks.
Former minister for cultural affairs Asaduzzaman Noor, MP, recited a poem on Bangabandhu and Chief Coordinator of the Bangabandhu's birth centenary celebration national implementation committee Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury gave welcome address.
A documentary highlighting Bangabandhu's life and works was also screened on the occasion.
The prime minister said the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators could not accept the victory of Bangalees during the Great War of Liberation in 1971 and since then they started hatching conspiracy mainly to kill Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In an emotion-charged voice, she said finally they were successful to kill Bangabandhu, his spouse Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, his three sons — Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell – wives of Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal and family members of close relatives of Bangabandhu in cold blood on August 15, 1975.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of Bangladesh except the killers shed tears for Bangabandhu. "The killers made ill efforts to erase Bangabandhu's name from history, but those went in vain as his name is now brightening in the world," she said.
After assuming power, the premier said, Ziaur Rahman had killed around 2000 freedom fighters army officers and soldiers in coups one after another and thus started the politics of killings.
She said that Zia made local collaborators such as Shah Aziz, Abdul Alim, Maulana Mannan prime minister, ministers and advisers who were involved in the killings of the country's intellectuals, mass killings, looting and other criminal acts.
Sheikh Hasina said Khaleda Zia, following the footprints of her husband Ziaur Rahman, also made Nizami, Mujaheed and other war criminals ministers who were directly involved in the intellectuals' killings.
Mentioning that Khaleda Zia made killers of Bangabandhu, Rashid and Huda members of the parliament while Rashid was made opposition leader of the parliament through the February 15 farcical election in 1996.
"Why did Khaleda Zia create scope for them to sit in parliament by snatching voting rights of the people in the February 15 farcical election if they had no link with them?" she questioned and said they (Ziaur Rahman and Khaleda Zia) always patronized those involved in terrorism and killings as well.
Noting that said the BNP government and Khaleda Zia herself were involved in the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on a anti-terrorism rally of the Awami League, saying that the law enforcers had charged baton on the people who tried to rescue the injured in the attacks.
"They (law enforcers) chased off the party leaders and activists from the scene to create a scope for the culprits to flee," she continued.
The prime minister said her government, despite many hurdles, has been working relentlessly to advance the country aimed at putting Bangladesh on a dignified position in the world by making it free from hunger and poverty.
Regarding programmes to celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, she said that they had taken elaborate programmes to this end, but observed those digitally on limited scale due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Sheikh Hasina said they have taken a vow on this auspicious occasion that not a single person would remain homeless and will arrange foods and healthcare services for all to bring smile on their faces.
"We've made huge progress to this end, but the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic has halted the country's advancement," she said, adding the government has been trying its best to take the country towards development again.