1889: “Cattle Kate” Ella Watson lynched 1209: Massacre of Beziers, “kill them all, let God sort them out”

1976: Lt. Col. Abu Taher

July 21st, 2009 Headsman

At 4 a.m. this date in Dhaka Central Prison, Lt. Col. Abu Taher was hanged for treason.

A series of coups in the mirrored-sunglasses era of military governance shook the young state of Bangladesh:

  • The autocratic Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was toppled by a revolt of junior officers on August 15, 1975;
  • Senior brass in turn felled the ruling junta on November 3, 1975, jailing powerful officer Ziaur Rahman;
  • A quick counter-coup of junior officers — also remembered as the “sepoy mutiny”* — mounted by leftist war hero Abu Taher on November 7 put Ziaur Rahman’s hand back on the helm of state.

While November 7 is still marked in Bangladesh as National Revolution and Solidarity Day, its author got short shrift from its beneficiary.**

Abu Taher, a retired officer and a hero of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War that had detached the former East Pakistan from Islamabad, had visions of social revolution. But three coups in as many months is the sort of thing to rattle the new big man, and Zia consolidated his own power by eliminating threats to both left and right political flanks.

A mere 17 days after doing that National Revolution and Solidarity thing, the guy with the mass movement (pdf) of armed men was arrested for treason. He faced a military tribunal the following year.

Taher scorned the charges against him, but of course the fix was in.

* An allusion to colonial history.

** However, Taher’s own date of martyrdom is also still marked by his posthumous partisans.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Bangladesh,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,Martyrs,Power,Revolutionaries,Soldiers,Treason,Wrongful Executions

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4 thoughts on “1976: Lt. Col. Abu Taher”

  1. waqar says:

    It is right .Zia ur Rehman was master mind of this case and killer of colnel Abu Tahir.He was really freedom fighter of his nation.Who took part in liberation war for his own people against Pakistan

  2. Abu Tahir was hero of his nation .he was sentenced to death by illegal military court after all.master mind of all this situation is Ziaur Rehaman

  3. Rana Thakur says:

    The High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh gave a verdict on the hearing of a writ petition on 22 March 2011; declaring Zia Ur Rahman as the mastermind behind the premeditated killing of Lt. Colonel Abu Taher Bir Uttam by an illegally engineered tribunal inside Dhaka Central Prison. This verdict reinstated Taher as the hero as he was along with his comrades. And Zia was exposed as a betrayer and a murderer. The verdict also cited that Zia’s accomplices be tried and justice be handed to the victims of Zia’s wrath.

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