Democracy killed by Sheik Mujib

Sheikh Mujib finally killed democracy just to perpetuate his power and enforced dictatorship of BKSAL on the people. It was an unprecedented constitutional coup de’tat.

The seeds of one party rule of BKSAL (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League) were sowed in the declaration of the Ordinance of Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini (JRB) on 7th March 1972. Presidential Ordinance No 9 and No 50 (72) were promulgated some time end April 1972. JRB was given power to such and arrest without any warrant.

As the overall situation in the country was fast deteriorating, on 24th December 1973 President Justice Abu Sayed Choudhury had to quit. 0n 15th January 1974 the Parliament went in session. Abdul Malek Ukil was nominated as the speaker. On 28th January 1974 Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini ordinance was passed in a ‘Yes’ vote.

On 2nd February 1974 Special Power Emergency Ordinance was passed and promulgated and a few articles of the constitution were also suspended. A state of national emergency was also declared on 3rd January 1975. All meetings, processions were banned. 6th Jan 1975 in an announcement it was said that the government employees would not be able to join any organization except co-operatives. All wall posters were ordered to be removed within 48 hours. Thereafter on 20th January 1975 most disgraceful Parliamentary session in our history of democracy convened. On 25th Jan 1975 the democracy was finally buried with the 4th amendment being passed at the Parliament without any debate.

4th amendment sated, "Before this law had been promulgated, the person who was the President will not remain as President and the post of the presidency will fall vacant. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be the President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and shall take over the powers as the Executive President, and will continue as the President made by law under this constitutional amendment. According to the constitution the republic will have one President and one vice-President. The people will directly elect the President. The President will nominate the Vice President. Tenure of the President and Vice President will be for five years. President will have all executive powers to adMinister the Republic. He will either directly or through his nominee will execute those powers. The Vice President will have powers to act as decided by the Presidential orders. A cabinet will be formed to assistant and advise the President. The President will have the power to nominate a Prime Minister, Ministers, deputy Ministers, state Ministers from among the Parliament members or any one from outside who is considered fit to be a Parliamentarian. Every Minister can speak and take part in other activities in the Parliament. But if he is not an elected member then he can not take part in voting. The President will chair the cabinet meetings. On his order the Vice President or the Prime Minister can chair such meetings. The Ministers will remain at their posts as long as the President desired. Under the amended bill the President has been authorized to form one political party in the country. This party will be the national party. According to the amendment no legal action can be constituted in any court of law against the President. And no court can issue any warrant of arrest or detention order against the President. No citizen is allowed to form any political party or join in any political activities other than the national party. The President will also be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces." 294 members voted in favor of the 4th amendment. No one voted against. The session continued for 2 hours 5 minutes. 3 opposition members and 1 independent member walked out in protest. They were Abdullah Sarkar, Abdus Sattar, Moinuddin Ahmed of JSD and Manabendra Narayan Larma the independent Member of Parliament. When the bill was placed, Mr. Shah Moazzim Hossain, the chief whip of the ruling party called the members not to raise any motion regarding the bill under the provision of suspension of fundamental rights. At that point Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan, the leader of the Jatiyo league raised the question of validity and requested for time from the speaker to debate on the issue. But the speaker did not acceded to his request. Later chief whip’s proposal was accepted in a voice vote. And Mr. Khan left the session in protest. After this Mr. Manaranjan Dhar the then law Minister placed the bill Special Power Emergency Act 1975. The chief whip again called to apply suspension of fundamental rights and his proposal was carried in a voice vote. One thing needs to be noted here that the bill got passed without any opposition in the Parliament. But on the question of replacing democracy with one-man dictatorship the Awami Leaguers also had difference of opinion among themselves. On 18th Jan 1975 an important meeting of the Awami League Parliamentary Party took place. In that meeting Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proposed to form one party BKSAL under the new system. But many of his colleagues did not see eye to eye with him on this issue that day. The people who protested against this one party autocratic rule were Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed Banga Bir Gen. Ataul Gani Osmani, barrister Moinul Hossain, Mr. Taheruddin Thakur, Shah Mouzzem Hossain, Obaidur Rahman, Nurul Islam Manju, and Nure Alam Siddiqui. Gen. Osmani and Mr. Nure Alam Siddiqui spoke very strongly against the introduction of one party rule. Gen. Osmani in his speech inter alia said, "We have seen Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan. We do not want to see Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as Mujibur Rahman Khan".

On 24th Feb 1975 President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through a decree announced formation of the only political party of the country Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League or BKSAL. He also declared himself to be the chairman of BKSAL. In the 3rd article of the announcement it was stated, "Till any further order from the President all the members of the Parliament of the defunct Awami League, all its members, Cabinet Ministers, deputy Ministers, state Ministers will be considered as the members of the BKSAL. Banga Bir Gen. Osmani and Barrister Mainul Hossain decided to defy this order and not to join BKSAL instead they both resigned from their Parliament membership.