Sheik Mujib’s attitude towards army and Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini (JRB)

Some very valued information regarding his attitude towards army and JRB were revealed in the interview that was given by Maj Gen. Shafiullah in London with ‘Janamat’ a Bengali weekly on 28th August. Later that interview was carried in the local dailies on 3rd September 1987.

Excerpts of that interview were as follows:

Q:- The relation between the government and the army was not cordial. It is alleged that the government did not trust the army. Do you thing these were true?

Ans:- Awami League government trusted me personally. But it is doubtful whether they had trust on the army as a whole.

Q:- After the independence why you were made the Chief of Army Staff?

Ans:- It was a political decision. It was not a decision of Gen. Osmani.

Q:- Did Awami League government carried out any discussion with you all before creating Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini?

Ans:- No Only after creating JRB I was informed that this force has been created to assist the police force. But I heard from people that Rakkhi Bahini was created to replace the army.

Q:- How was the relation between the army and Rakkhi Bahini?

Ans:- The relation was not good. There were some good reasons for it. Then the rumour was ripe that the army is going to be replaced by the Rakkhi Bahini. As a new force JRB was provided with everything brand new. On the other hand army remained in a deplorable state. Many within the armed forces got hurt at such discriminatory attitude of the government. As a result the relation deteriorated. But the government made a blunder giving power of arrest and search to Rakkhi Bahini. At this many within the armed forces become angry and concerned. Not only that at time Rakkhi Bahini even harassed many army officers. The situation suggested that Rakkhi Bahini was more powerful than the army.

Q:- Sheikh Majibur Rahman was not in favour of strengthening or providing the armed forces, is it true?

Ans:- Yes. I should say this is true.

Q:- After the unpleasant incident between Gazi Golam Mustafa and Maj. Dalim at the Ladies Club, as the Acief of army staff did you take any action?

Ans:- When learned about the problem I went to Bangabandhu on behalf of Dalim to seek justice. Bangabandhu was fire on me. Then I said, "Bangabandhu if I don’t speak for my officers then who will? Please you inquire about the incidence of Gazi Golam Mustafa. Should you need any help in this regard then I am ready to assist you. As the officers were against Gazi and I was in their favour, so I spoke against Gazi. That is why he was not very happy. He just said, "Shafiullah do you know that you are talking to the President? in English".

I said, "I know Sir. I am not talking for myself. I am talking for you. People have not told the truth to you. At that time Zia and Shaffat Jamil were also present there".

Q:- What had happened after that?

Ans:- Then we came back from there disappointed as no justice was done. Later the government decided to retire Major Dalim from the army.