Mohammad Abdul Monjur
Muhammed Abul Manzur
|Born||February 24, 1940|
Bengal, British India[note 1]
|Died||June 1, 1981 (aged 41)|
|Rank|| Major General|
|Commands held||Sector – VIII|
Chief of General Staff
GOC 24th Infantry Division
|Battles/wars||Liberation War of Bangladesh|
|Spouse(s)||Rana Yasmeen Manzur|
Muhammed Abul Manzur, Bir Uttom (1940 - 1 June 1981) was a career army officer who was the BDF Commander of Sector 8 during the Bangladesh of War Independence in 1971. His connection to the murder of President Zia leading to the Coupe is not a proven fact. Then Army COS Hussein Muhammad Ershad, the mastermind of Zia's assassination, put a shoot to kill standing order on Manzurs life. He was killed shortly after being captured at the border. About a year later, H.M. Ershad took over the government in a bloodless coup, holding power until 1990.
Manzur had been awarded valor under fire Bir Uttam by the Bangladeshi Government for his bravery in the Independence war. Manzur was the divisional commander of Bangladesh Army, GOC (General Officer Commanding) of 24th Infantry Division headquartered at Chittagong at the time of his death. His surviving wife and four children were given political asylum in the United States.
Monjur was born on 24 January 1940 in Bengal.[note 1] He attended Sarghoda Public School in Punjab, Pakistan, and passed senior Cambridge in 1955 and ISC examination in 1956. He earned an Intermediate degree from Air Force Cadet College in Sarghoda and studied at Dacca University for a year. He joined the Pakistani military, studied at the Pakistan Military Academy, and attended Defence Service Staff College in Canada, where he obtained his psc in 1958. He joined the East Bengal Regiment as a commissioned officer.
After the Liberation War started, Major Manzoor was a brigade major of a Para Commando Brigade close to the Indian border. He escaped from West Pakistan to India with his family and a few fellow officers. From there, they made their way to Bangladesh, and Manzoor joined up with fellow officers from East Bengal. He quickly became a prominent officer within the ranks and won many battles in his sector. He commanded Sector – VIII during the Liberation War from September 1971 to victory on December 1971.
In 1974-76, he was posted in New Delhi as Military Attache in the Bangladesh Embassy to India. Known for his tenacity, keen eye for strategy, and formation of loyalty from colleagues, in 1975 he was promoted to Colonel.
Upon his return to Dhaka in 1977, he was promoted to Brigadier. In 1980, he was promoted to Major General at the age of 41. He was one of the youngest generals of a front-line force in south-east Asia's history.
Role in assassination of Ziaur Rahman
General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Chief of Army Staff, transferred General Manzoor to a non-combatant post in Dhaka as Commandant of the Defenece Services Command and Staff College. Manzoor was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Chittagong, and freedom fighters placed under his command were given the highest posts. Once the transfer order was sent to Manzoor, he launched a coup on the morning of 30 May, and ordered the killing of President Ziaur Rahman at Chittagong Circuit House. That Sunday, 30 May, Manjoor broadcast on Bangladesh Radio from Chittagong station, saying, "Let us have a united stand to run the country and make it a real nation of the people." In the face of an ultimatum for surrender by the government, most of Manzoor's troops had abandoned their posts or had joined the government, which ended the rebellion. Later, government soldiers retook the radio station, and Bangladesh Radio announced a 500,000 taka reward for capture -dead or alive- of Manzoor.
Although the assassination of President Ziaur Rahman was carried out in Chittagong on 30 May 1981, the military coup d'état failed. General Manzoor went on radio to speak to the nation. According to the historian Anthony Mascarenhas in his Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood, Manzoor effectively isolated Chittagong from the rest of the country. Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, quickly ordered to suppress any such action and issued orders to kill or capture Manzoor. Manzoor surrender without incident to the police in Fatikchari. Manzoor was reported to have been killed on spot by angry soldiers on 2 June 1981. Other reports say he was killed in Chittagong Cantonment by an army officer sent from Dhaka. In less than a year, General Hussain Muhammad Ershad took over the country in a bloodless coup.
On 28 February 1995, Abul Mansur the elder brother of General Manzoor filed a murder case with Panchlaish Police Station 14 years after his killing. Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad was made the prime accused in the case. Other accused are Maj (retired) Kazi Emdadul Haque, Lt Col (retired) Mostafa Kamaluddin Bhuiyan, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Shams, and Major General (retired) Adbul Latif.
Family and legacy
- Bangladesh Gazette of 15 December, 1973; Ministry of Liberation War Affairs
- "CID gets 2 more months for Manzur's murder investigation". The Daily Star. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Franda, Marcus (22 August 1981). "Bangladesh After Zia: A Retrospect and Prospect". Economic and Political Weekly. 16 (34): 1387–1394. JSTOR 4370140.
- Khan, Muazzam Hussain (2012). "Manzoor, Major General Muhammad Abul". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
- Lifschultz, Lawrence (1979). Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution. London: Zed Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-905762-07-X.
[Abu Taher recounting their escape from West Pakistan to join the Bangladesh Liberation War:] Since we had to pass some daylight hours, we went to Major Manzoor's house who was stationed at Sialkot Cantonment. When Manzoor came to know of our plan of escape, he remained quiet and expressed no enthusiasm. At the insistence of his wife, he at last agreed to escape with us. In this way Major Manzoor, his family, and his Bengali batman joined us. At nightfall we drove up to the border, ... walked across the boundary and reached India.
- "1981: Bangladeshi president assassinated". On This Day. BBC News. 30 May 1981. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- "Genesis, Maturation and Distortion of the Bangladeshi Army". Samaj.revues.org. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- Islam Tipu, Md Sanaul (30 May 2013). "Prosecution buying time in Manzoor murder case". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Lifschultz, Lawrence (25 February 2014). "The murder of Major General Abul Manzur, Bir Uttam". The Daily Star. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- Islam, Md Sanaul (13 March 2015). "CID gets more time to probe Maj Manzoor murder case". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "Docket Nos. 03-40052-ag(L), 03-40054-ag(con), 03-40056-ag(con), 03-40058-ag(con). – MANZUR v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY – US 2nd Circuit". Caselaw.findlaw.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- "Manzur v. DHS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2011.
- "Sector Commanders Forum". Sector Commanders Forum. 14 April 2008. Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- Ali, Tariq. Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power?, London: Cape, 1970.