Abu Taher (1938–1976) a communist and a left-leaning radical activist of the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal, responsible for the Soldiers Mutiny and Uprising and the radical breakout that occurred in Dhaka, which killed countless officers and men, along with their spouses on November 7, 1975. He joined the Bangladesh Liberation struggle from India during mid August with three other fellow officers. 11th Sector Commander Major Ziaur Rahman appointed him 2nd Sub-Sector Commander of the 11th Sector at Mahendraganj. On October 10, 1971, Major Zia handed over command of Sector 11 to Taher. Taher lost his leg from a grenade blast on November 2 and flown to Pune, India, for treatment. On November 21, 1971, Major Taher received a medical board release from military service. He was temporarily reinstated in 1972 in the Bangladesh Army.
Early life and education
Colonel. Abu Taher was born in Badarpur, Assam Province in then British India on 14 November 1938. His family hailed from Kazla village in Purbadhala of then Bengal Province, today a town in the Netrokona District of Bangladesh. After completion of higher secondary school from Sylhet M C College, he joined the Pakistan Army in 1960 as an officer candidate and received his Commission in 1962.
In Pakistan Army, Abu Taher joined the elite Special Service Group (Commando Force) in 1965. Following his training, he participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 in the Kashmir sector and the Sialkot sector. For his part, he received a gallantry award from the Government of Pakistan. After the war, Taher took advanced training on Guerrilla Warfare at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning in the United States in 1969. He was posted to the Quetta Staff College, Pakistan in 1970.
Role in Bangladesh Liberation War
Towards the end of July 1971, Capt.Taher along with three other Bengali officers Maj. Manzoor and Capt. Ziauddin defected from the Pakistan Army and crossed over the border near Abbottabad, West Pakistan, into India. After two weeks under Indian interrogation and screening he was sent to BDF HQ at 8 Theatre road and then posted to Sector 11 in the Rangpur District, which comprised Mymensingh District, Tangail District and parts of the Rangpur District. He was appointed 2nd sub-sector commander at Mahendraganj in August. At departure with Z-Force towards Sylhet sector on October 10, 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman handed command of Sector 11 to Major Taher. After 22 days on November 2, 1971, Taher lost his leg from a grenade blast injury. Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan was appointed Sector Commander of Sector 11. Taher was flown to Pune, India. On 21 November Taher received a Medical Board Release. For his valour, he was awarded Bir Uttam.
Following his return, Taher was reinstated into Bangladesh Army. He received a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and in June 1972, he was appointed Commanding Officer of 44th Battalion of East Bengal Regiment at the Comilla Cantonment. However, due to his left-leaning communist ideas of organising and reforming the Bangladesh Army in the model of the Chinese army he resigned from the Bangladesh Army and joined Jatiya Samajtantric Dal (National Socialist Party). As Abu Taher's ideas of a social revolution with a central communist army grew, a mutiny rebellion followed on November 3, 1975 among senior officers in the army, which Taher quickly took advantage of and created a sense of dissent among ranking Non-Commissioned Officers and regular soldiers. Abu Taher incited and organised a socialist uprising of the soldiers on 7 November 1975. A number of military officers were attacked and killed by these soldiers. Zia was forced to arrest Taher under charges of treason and murder. Taher was arrested on 24 November 1975. He was tried by a military tribunal inside the Dhaka Central Jail and was sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging on 21 July 1976.
Illegal secret court martial
On 22nd march 2011 The High Court laid down a judgement by declaring Taher's court martial illegal and asked the government to consider him as a martyr.
Abu Taher's Writings