Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina revealed on the eve of her four-day visit to India that she had previously lived with her children on Delhi’s upscale Pandara Road under an assumed name in an effort to avoid the notice of those who had murdered her father Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, news agency ANI reported.
In a moving televised interview with ANI nearly five decades later, Hasina discussed the searing traumas that had plagued her for years.
#WATCH | Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina recounts memories of when her family was assassinated and her life in Delhi under a changed name during the late 1970s pic.twitter.com/5xag64ndQa
— ANI (@ANI) September 4, 2022
Hasina described the frantic events of 1975, when she left Bangladesh to go to her nuclear physicist husband in Germany, with wet eyes. Family members had travelled to the airport to see Hasina and her sister go on July 30, 1975.
Hasina had no idea that it would be her last encounter with her parents since it was a joyous parting.
“Because my husband was abroad, so I used to live in the same house (with parents). So that day everybody was there: my father, mother, my three brothers, two newly-wedded sisters-in-law, everybody was there. So all the siblings and their spouses. They came to the airport to see us off. And we met father, mother. That was the last day, you know,” Hasina was quoted by ANI in its report.
On the morning of August 15, a fortnight later, Hasina got news that she found difficult to comprehend. The illustrious politician Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, her father, had been murdered.
After learning of her father’s murder, the horrors further intensified when she learned that other members of her family had been executed without trial.
“It was really unbelievable. Unbelievable, that any Bengali could do it. And still we didn’t know how, what really happened. Only there was a coup, and then we heard that my father was assassinated. But we didn’t know that all the family members were, you know, they were assassinated,” Hasina said.
According to Hasina, one of the first nations to provide assistance was India.
“Mrs Indira Gandhi immediately sent information that she wanted to give us, I mean, security and shelter. So we received, especially from Marshal Tito from Yugoslavia, and Mrs Gandhi. We decided to come back here (Delhi) because we had in our mind that if we go to Delhi, from Delhi we’ll be able to go back to our country. And then we’ll be able to know how many members of family are still alive,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister said.
Even after 50 years, Hasina’s voice still carries the pain. “It’s very difficult time,” she said. The first individual to provide a description of her family’s slaughter was Humayun Rashid Chaudhary, who was at the time Bangladesh’s ambassador to Germany.
“For few moments I didn’t know where I was. But I thought about my sister, actually she’s 10 years younger than me. So, I thought how she will take it. It is so difficult for her. Then when we returned to Delhi, at first they put us in a house with all security, because they were also worried about us,” recounted Hasina.
(With Inputs From ANI)