Shaheed Noor Hossain Day: A Valiant Sacrifice to Bring Back Democracy

 

Noor Hossain is one of the notable names of Bangladesh's movement for democracy. On November 10, 1987, when he was participating in a rally supporting to establish democratic rule in Bangladesh against the autocratic ruler Let. Gen. H M Ershad, police gunned him down.

Noor Hossain's ancestral home on his father's side was in the village of Jhatibunia in Mathbaria Upazila, Pirojpur. His father was an autorickshaw operator. His family moved to 79/1 Banagram Road, Dhaka after the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Noor Hossain attended Radhasundari Primary School, which was also on Banagram Road. When he was in 8th grade at Graduate High School, Dhaka, Hossain quit school because of poverty. He was admitted to a motor driving school and received training in driving like his father. Interested in politics, Hossain became the publicity secretary of the Banagram unit committee of Dhaka City Jubo League.

On 10 November 1987, political opponents with the leadership of Bangladesh Awami League came together for which was called a "Dhaka Siege" (Dhaka Blockade) to demand an end to the rule of President Hussain Muhammad Ershad based on violations of democracy. Although he had been in power since 1982 through a coup d'état, he won the October 1987 election but opponents charged it was a fraud. The opposition's demand was an election of the National Assembly under a non-partisan caretaker government.

As a part of the blockade, Noor Hossain joined in a rally in Dhaka and wrote a slogan “Swairachar Nipat Jak, Gonotantra Mukti Pak” (down with autocracy, let democracy be freed) inscribed in white on his chest and back. The rally advanced to Zero Point in Gulistan where government-backed police force shot indiscriminately. Noor Hoassain and other two other leaders, Nurul Huda Babul of Jubo League and Aminul Huda Tutul of Kishoreganj, were killed.

The martyrdom of Nur Hossain and others during the mass upsurge of the late 90s expedited the anti-autocracy movement. In the face of the movement, autocratic ruler HM Ershad had to step down on Dec 6, 1990. Since then, the day is being observed every year as the Shaheed Nur Hossain Day. Different socio-cultural and professional organisations as well as ruling Awami League have chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.

In a statement on Wednesday, AL General Secretary and Minister for Roads and Bridges Obaidul Quader urged party units across the country and people from all strata to observe the Shaheed Nur Hossain Day in a befitting manner.