Every 15 August is National Mourning Day in Bangladesh to remember and mourn the brutal murder of the nation’s first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who also led the independence movement for East Pakistan (Bangladesh) against West Pakistan.
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Rahman was assassinated by a small group of army officers as part of a coup that put Bangladesh under military rule from 1975 till 1991. Not only was the “Father of the Nation” killed on that day, but most of his family and some of his other acquaintances were also murdered.
The incident took place at president Rahman’s personal residence on Road 32 in the Dhanmondi neighborhood of Dhaka, the capital city. The victims were 18 in all, including two of his wives, one of whom was pregnant, his brother-in-law, his daughters-in-law, and his sons. His daughters, Hasina and Rehana, escaped only because they were in West Germany at the time.
Five years after the fall of the military government, in 1996, the anniversary of the death of the nation’s beloved Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was finally made a public holiday. Also in 1996, the Bangladeshi government, headed up by the political party known as the Awami League, had still-living, self-confessed killers of the late Sheikh Rahman tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. They were finally executed on 27 January 2010. The government even sought to bring to justice those of his killers who had fled abroad.
If in Bangladesh on National Mourning Day, you will notice that the national flag is flown at half-mast at government, educational, organisational, and other buildings throughout the land. The Awami League also raises a black flag at all of their party offices on the morning of 15 August, the time when the brutal killing was discovered. The whole day is one of great solemnity, and Bangladesh’s first leader is given great respect and honour.