Sultan M Hali
SHEIKH Hasina Wajed, the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, spares no opportunity in spewing venom against Pakistan. During the International Mother Language Day observed on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, Sheikh Hasina, speaking at the inauguration of a four-day program at Dhaka, erupted in her usual rhetoric. She claimed that the assassination of the founder of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujib was planned and executed by Pakistan. It is a fact of history that India planned dismemberment of Pakistan and executed its heinous plan very methodically. The partition of India was not accepted by Hindu Brahmins, who considered the division as desecration of “Mother India” and had sworn to destabilize Pakistan so that it is forced to rejoin India.
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was created by Indian Prime Minister Indira with the specific task of disillusioning the East Pakistanis with the state of Pakistan and start insurgency and a demand for separation. The Bengali guerrilla group ‘Mukti Bahini’ was created, trained and armed by India. The group was even infiltrated by regular Indian soldiers to sabotage, disrupt and kill Pakistan Army personnel surreptitiously. On 30 January 1971, an Indian Airlines Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft named Ganga, flying from Srinagar to Jammu, was hijacked by Indian agents and taken to Lahore, where it was set on fire after releasing all passengers and crew. Using the incident as a ploy, India banned the over-flight of Pakistani aircraft so that logistic support from West Pakistan to its beleaguered eastern wing could be blocked. Non-Bengalis and West Pakistanis in East Pakistan were targeted, raped and slaughtered. When the Pakistan Army acted in defence to restore law and order, Indian propaganda forces came into action and the drama of mass exodus of Bengalis to India was orchestrated under the alleged plea of highhandedness of Pakistan.
When time was ripe, Indian forces attacked East Pakistan, with the Indians enjoying 10:1 supremacy. The end was never in doubt and on 16 December 1971 East Pakistan was separated by India announcing the liberation of Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi declared that “Jinnah’s Two-Nation Theory had been sunk in the Bay of Bengal.” It has come to light that Sheikh Mujib was conspiring against Pakistan from the very beginning. The 2014 publication of The Unfinished Memoirs of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as his autobiography “Ausamapta Atmajiboni” in Bengali language and translated into English by Fakrul Alam have lifted the shrouds of conspiracy.
Reportedly, Sheikh Mujib, a student leader in 1947, started writing his autobiography in his notebooks during his sojourns in jail as a state prisoner between 1967 and 1969. He suffered incarceration for conspiring with India to dismember Pakistan. Reportedly, Mujib gave the notebooks to his trusted compatriot Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni to prepare a typed copy. Ironically, after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib and Moni, the notebooks slid in oblivion and remained so until one of his relatives discovered four notebooks in a drawer of Sheikh Moni in 2004. In his memoirs, Mujib has narrated his ancestry, birth and childhood, days in school and college, and social and political involvements. The book recounts historical events witnessed by Sheikh Mujib – famine, communal riots in Kolkata and Bihar, partition, politics of Kolkata-centric State Muslim Student League and Muslim League and description of Pakistani officials’ discriminatory attitude and his version of the Agartala conspiracy.
It is a historical fact that Bengali Muslims were in the forefront of the struggle for Pakistan. At a later stage some of them became disgruntled with the high-handed attitude of West Pakistani leadership and bureaucrats posted to erstwhile East Pakistan, who used to treat it like a colony. The declaration of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan in 1948 was an unjust decision and most Bengalis reacted violently to it with a volatile Sheikh Mujib in the vanguard. While more mature Bengali leaders were willing to discuss the parity rights of East Pakistanis with their West Pakistani counterparts in a civilized manner, Sheikh Mujib adopted the path of surreptitious plotting and conspiratorial machination in collaboration with Pakistan’s arch enemy and nemesis India. Mujib has conveniently omitted from his “unfinished memoirs” his surreptitious visit to Agartala on a Top-Secret mission to meet Indian co-conspirators on 5 February 1962. This fact is corroborated by a diary note endorsed by Khowai SDO Smarajit Chakravarty who wrote on the same date: “Today at about 1300 hours one Mr. Mujibur Rahaman, Amir Hussain & T Choudhury arrived through Asharambari.
They have been sent to Teliamura under instruction from D M”. This essential piece of evidence, the missing link in the Agartala Conspiracy case has belatedly been provided by Manas Pal, in his Op-Ed titled ‘A Diary Note On Mujibur Rahman’’, published in Agartala’s daily Bengal Newz of November 5, 2012. The article also includes a scanned copy of the diary enclosure depicting the incriminating evidence. Sheikh Mujib was the main conspirator in the breakup of Pakistan, aided and abetted by India. Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s claim that Pakistan plotted to assassinate Mujib, is wrong on two accounts. Firstly, if Pakistan wanted to eliminate him, it could have done so when Mujib was in Pakistan’s custody but it chose to release him after the fall of Dhaka. Secondly Mujib was a poor administrator. His own people and army were disgruntled with him and assassinated him in a coup d’état. Indulging in selected history, will not serve Sheikh Hasina well.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.
Sultan M Hali