Bangladesh mourns slain leader

By Daniel Lak, BBC News Online Tuesday 15 August 2000, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK

Bangladesh is observing a day of national mourning on the 25th anniversary of the assassination of the country's founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Government services and many private businesses are shut to commemorate Sheikh Mujib, who was also Bangladesh's first prime minister.

The day of mourning was called by the current prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, daughter of Sheikh Mujib and one of two close family members not to be killed on 15 August 1975.

The other member to survive the killing was her sister Sheikh Rehana—the two were out of the country when Sheikh Mujib's government was overthrown.

The events of that day still cast a shadow over present day Bangladesh.

Sheikh Mujibur Junior army officers attacked the family home of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in central Dhaka killing him, his wife, his two sons and other relatives and political associates.

The attack came amid mounting discontent with an increasingly authoritarian government and just four years after Bangladesh won independence.

Trial and conviction

It was an indication of many more years of turmoil and bloodshed to come, military coups and counter coups and a legacy of violence.

Four of the 15 men accused of plotting the killings have been tried, convicted and are awaiting execution in Bangladesh.

Eleven others are abroad and Dhaka is festooned with banners calling for their extradition.

Sheikh Hasina has kept the memory of her father's assassination very much alive during her past four years in power.

Her bitter rivalry with the opposition leader, Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of another assassinated Bangladeshi leader has continued and deepened since restoration of democracy in Bangladesh a decade ago.