Desk Report: Nonagenarian deputy military commander of the 1971 Liberation War retired Air Vice Marshal AK Khandker has apologized for presenting a piece of distracted information relating to Bangabandhu’s 7th March address in a book, launched five years ago sparking a nationwide protest.
“I am seeking apology to the countrymen and departed soul of Bangabandhu,” Khandker said in a media appearance at Dhaka Reporters Unity along with his wife Farida Khandker on Saturday.
Reading out his one-page written statement he added: “I am now 90. I think it is the biggest of all mistakes I committed in my life”.
The Prothoma Prokashan published his book titled “1971: Bhetore Baire” (1971: Inside and Outside) in August, 2014 and in the 32nd page of the book he wrote Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had concluded his historic 7th March address saying “Joy Pakistan”.
Khandker said he was withdrawing the tire paragraph of page 32 relating to the issue in the book saying “Bangabandhu never uttered “Joy Pakistan” and shouldered the “entire responsibility” for the “misinformation”.
“I believe a lot of patriotic people were hurt (by my comments) . . . regardless of the source, however, I take the responsibility for writing this misinformation. Bangabandhu never uttered ‘Joy Pakistan’ in his 7 March speech”, he said.
Khandker added: “On my last leg of life like the setting sun, I apologise to Bangabandhu’s soul and the nation. . . forgive me.”
Khandker, who was also independent Bangladesh’s first air force chief and minister of the Awami League government, however, referred to the questions by newsmen at the briefing to his wife sitting beside him as he was suffering from hearing impairment.
Asked why he did not responded immediately to the protest to end the controversy, his wife claimed that some people including Ganoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Jafrullah Chowdhury virtually kept Khandker away from newsmen, barring him from clarifying the mistake.
She said Prothoma’s owner Motiur Rahman also did not cooperate with him to end the controversy.
Khandker asked the Prothoma Prokashan to reprint the book erasing controversial paragraph on page 32. _BSS
risingbd/Dhaka/June 01, 2019/AKA