Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina lived in India in political asylum after the incident of August 15, 1975. When Awami League (AL) elected her as the party president in 1981, she prepared herself to return to her homeland just after few days. However, the then President and military dictator Ziaur Rahman prohibited her return on three occasions. But, against her strong willpower, Ziaur Rahman withdrew the prohibition in haste and let her return to the country. Thousands of people welcomed her return. After going through old files of the Home Ministry and Intelligence, it has been found that the government plotted her murder that day. Clearly, it did not succeed because of the huge crowd.
Those files also reveal that AL elected Sheikh Hasina as the party president on February 16, 1981, through a council session. A secret note of the National Security Intelligence (NSI) discloses another evidence of NSI’s contact with the government on Sheikh Hasina being elected as the party president. It says, ‘she might return to the country soon. Therefore, it is necessary to know the government’s stance on this matter.’ The Home Ministry sent the secret note to the Prime Minister for his opinion. However, Shah Azizur Rahman, the then Prime Minister, forwarded the note to Bangabhaban, the official residence of the President, for his final decision. On March 3, Ziaur Rahman wrote in reply, ‘No. Not allow her to enter into this country.’ After that, the note returned to the Home Ministry again. The deputy secretary of Home Ministry prepared another note responding to President’s note. He wrote, ‘A citizen of Bangladesh does not need permission to enter the country. Therefore, the order of the President needs correction.’ The name of the deputy secretary was SA Samad who later became the chief secretary of Sheikh Hasina in two terms, one in 1996 and another in 2001. When the note reached to the Home Minister, he personally met with the President to discuss the return of Sheikh Hasina. However, the old files retrieved from Intelligence say that Ziaur Rahman remained unmoved from his decision not to let Sheikh Hasina enter the country.
On March 14, a secret letter was sent from President’s office to the Foreign Ministry which states, ‘The Bangladesh High Commission in India was instructed to hold talks with Delhi to stop Sheikh Hasina from entering the country.’
On April 18, President Ziaur Rahman sent for the Home Ministry. Files reveal that Zia (Ziaur Rahman) ordered the arrest of Sheikh Hasina if she returned home. The Home Ministry prepared all the necessary files to arrest Sheikh Hasina with the special power of law. According to the Intelligence, from May 1 onwards, mass arrests of the AL leaders and activists began following the President’s order. The news published on May 3, 1981, shows that seven thousand AL supporters were arrested across the country. According to the report of May 11 of Indian newspaper Anandabazar, The Intelligence Agency of Bangladesh sent a secret letter to Indian’s Prime Minister, ‘If Sheikh Hasina returned to the country, it might cost her life.’ India’s PM sent a representative to Sheikh Hasina to inform of this news. But, she told the representative, ‘I don’t fear death. Let me die in my homeland.’ After this, the Indian government did not prevent her from going back to her homeland. On May 17, Sheikh Hasina returned to her country.
On the other hand, BNP acting chief Tarique Rahman flew to London showing the cause of medical treatment and giving a bondage that he would not do politics in his life. He went to London with a visa validity of only six months. Later, he submitted his passport to the British government and took ‘political asylum’. He did not even renew his Bangladeshi passport. He was notified three times from the government of Bangladesh to return home, but he did not. To continue staying in London, he accepted the path of deceit and lies.
These two incidents show the difference between a true patriotic politician and a deceitful politician. When one ignores death get the touch of the soil of her country, the other one lives abroad through deceitful means and conspiring against his own country.