India covertly helps Bangladesh arrest Mujib killer

India covertly helps Bangladesh arrest fugitive killer of 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujib

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A joint covert operation by the intelligence agencies of India and Bangladesh led to the arrest of one of the fugitives wanted for the 1975 assassination of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the capital of the neighbouring country early on Tuesday.

Abdul Mazed, a former captain of Bangladesh Army, was arrested from Mirpur in Dhaka by the police of the neighbouring country. He is among the six fugitives, who were convicted for the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the “Father of the Nation” of Bangladesh, and most of his family in Dhaka on August 15, 1975, but remained at large. Five other convicts had been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and had been executed on January 28, 2010 – almost 35 years after they had assassinated the country’s first President.

Mazed was believed to be hiding in India to escape justice in Bangladesh.

Neither Bangladesh nor India so far officially acknowledged that the collaboration between the intelligence agencies of the two neighbouring nations had led to his arrest.

Sources in New Delhi, however, told the DH that the intelligence agencies of India and Bangladesh had worked together in ensuring his return to and subsequently his arrest in the capital of his country.

Such covert cooperation between the security agencies of India and Bangladesh is not new. Soon after Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina had returned to the office of the Prime Minister in Dhaka in January 2009, similar joint operations by the agencies of the two neighbouring countries had resulted in the arrest of several leaders of insurgent outfits in the north-eastern states of India from their hide-outs in Bangladesh. The coordination between the agencies of the two nations had made the elusive insurgent leaders turn up near Bangladesh-India border and they all had been arrested by the security personnel of India.

The governments in New Delhi and Dhaka never confirmed or deny the trans-border cooperation between their security agencies.

Hasina’s government in Dhaka has since long been asking New Delhi to find Mazed and hand him over to the agencies in Bangladesh. The issue was on the agenda of her meetings with her successive counterparts in New Delhi – Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi. Singh had assured Bangladesh Prime Minister of all possible assistance to find out not only Mazed, but also the other four other fugitives, who had participated in the assassination of her father and the neighbouring country’s first President. So did Modi.  

The news portals of Bangladesh quoted the country’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan saying in Dhaka that the much-wanted fugitive might have had returned to his country due to the Covid-19 pandemic and had been subsequently arrested by police from the national capital.

“Mazed said he arrived in the country on March 15 or 16 from Kolkata. He claimed that he was hiding there for about 23 years,” the Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh quoted Assistant Public Prosecutor, Hemayet Uddin Khan, saying in Dhaka. Khan had talked to Mazed before the former Bangladesh Army officer had been produced in a court which sent him to jail.

The Awami League Government in Dhaka has projected the arrest of one of the absconding killers of Sheikh Mujib as the “best gift” for the people of Bangladesh. It came at a time when the nation is celebrating the birth centenary of the iconic leader of the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh.