Ali Hossain, the brother of Noor Hossain who sacrificed his life to topple dictatorial regime in Bangladesh, said he had no other option but to accept the coalition between his own party the Awami League and the former dictator HM Ershad as ‘reality’, though his heart could not ‘admit’ it.
He also talked about the current political scenario and limitations of his family in an interview with bdnews24.com on the eve of 25 years of Noor Hossain’s sacrifice in establishing democracy.
His brother lost his life when the police fired on a pro-democracy procession, taken out against the autocratic regime of HM Ershad, near Zero Point in the city on Nov 10, 1987.
The Jubo League activist had a slogan ‘Swairachar Nipat Jak, Gonotantra Mukti Pak’ (Down with autocracy, let democracy be free) inscribed in white paint on his bare chest and back when a bullet pierced through his body.
His death strengthened the movement spearheaded by the Awami League-led 15-party alliance and BNP-led 7-party combine, leading to the fall of the autocratic ruler Ershad on Dec 6, 1990 and helped restore democracy in the country.
Since then, the country observes Nov 10 as Shaheed Noor Hossain Day every year. The Zero Point has been renamed Noor Hossain Square in his honour.
Ali Hossain was silent when he was asked about his reaction over Awami League’s alliance with the former dictator.
But he quickly continued: “Mr Ershad sought forgiveness several times from my father. But I don’t believe him.”
“His (Ershad) trial would have been completed long ago. He should have been hanged for what he had done.”
Holding his emotions he came back to ‘reality’ soon after.
“I lost my brother due to wrong things done by Ershad. But it is also true that we had to starve to death if the incumbent government had not done what it did for us.”
“Although I felt bad I accepted Ershad’s participation in the alliance obeying my party,” he added.
Ali Hossain was appointed as the driver of Awami League President Shiekh Hasina after Ershad was moved from power in 1990. He is still working as personal employee of her.
He also said the Awami League-led government had donated the family of Noor Hossain five-katha (1 katha = 2,880 sq ft) of land near Mirpur’s Intellectual Martyrs’ Graveyard in 1997.
He claimed the leaders of all the political parties except Jamaat-e-Islami take care of them.
“Even Ershad came to our house many times. But I have no dissatisfaction that Jamaat did not take care of them as my brother used to hate Razakars throughout all his life,” he added.
Asked whether Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had tried to know their condition, Hossain said, “She called upon my father in 1991 once and asked him whether we were facing any problem. She also tried to know our conditions several times later.”
“I have also tested food made by Hasina,” he said.
Ali Hossain was two-and-a-half years younger than Noor Hossain.
He said he has two more brothers and a sister apart from Noor. “We all used to live in a congested room in Old Dhaka’s Tipu Sultan Road.”
“Noor was always slightly different. He used to tell us about democracy and Nation of the Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman then. We could not realise these then.”
When he was asked whether he had any expectation from the political parties, he said, “My brother sacrificed his life for democracy. So my demand to the political party is, please exercise politics for democracy, not only for power.”