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Rewarding assassins led to trend of child killings

The then government’s actions to secure indemnity for the killers of child Sheikh Russell and other members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s family have played a role in the rise in killings and torture of children in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina says, Agencies report.

One of the surviving members of the family, the prime minister made the observation at an event in Dhaka marking the birthday of her younger brother Russell on Friday.

“I sometimes think Russell is 54 years old. How would he look at 54? I am his elder sister. I raised him, took care of him. He was very modern, but the assassin’s bullet did not let him live,” she said.

The youngest son of Bangabandhu was born on Oct 18, 1964. He was a 10-year-old student of class four at University Laboratory School when the killers massacred the family on Aug 15, 1975.

Bangabandhu’s daughters Hasina and Rehana survived the carnage as they were abroad.

Hasina returned to the country in 1981 and took the helm of the Awami League.

She could not seek justice for the killings as the first military ruler of the country, Ziaur Rahman, enacted a law to indemnify the killers of Bangabandhu and his family.

The trial only started after the Awami League returned to power in 1996.

Recalling that the killers of Russell, Bangabandhu and others had been rewarded with appointments to different Bangladesh missions abroad, she said: “These things affect society.”

“You must have noticed incidents of inhumane torture on children. Such an incident occurred recently,” Hasina said, referring to the recent killing of a 5-year-old boy and mutilation of the body allegedly by his father and uncle in Sunamganj.

“A father kills his child to frame others. How bizarre! How pervert is the mindset of some people of this country!” she said. 

“People would have fears if the killers of children and women (on Aug 15, 1975) were tried at the time. Such mindset would not have formed.”

The prime minister spoke of her determination to work to stop killings of children by ensuring trial of killers.

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