Sikder, Siraj

Sikder, Siraj (1944-1975) revolutionary politician. Siraj Sikder was born on 27 September 1944 at Bhedarganj in Shariatpur district. His father Abdur Razzaque Sikder was a Circle Officer. Siraj Sikder passed his matriculation examination from Barisal Zila School in 1959, ISc from Barisal BM College in 1961, and obtained the degree of Civil Engineering from the Dhaka Engineering University in 1967. He associated himself with student politics as an activist of East Pakistan Student Union. He was elected vice president of the central committee of Student Union (Menon group) in 1967.

Siraj Sikder

Siraj Sikder took a job in the C and B Department of the government in 1967, but within three months he left the job to join a private company named Engineering Limited in Teknaf. In late 1968, Siraj Sikder resigned from the service of the Company, and established the Mao Tse Tung Research Centre in Dhaka. But on the pressure of a group of fundamentalists the Ayub government closed down the research centre. In February 1970, Siraj Sikder joined the Technical Training College in Dhaka as a Lecturer.

During the war of liberation in 1971, Siraj Sikder made a plan to establish Sarbahara (have-nots) cells in the rural areas of East Bengal. He formed a cadre force styled as Purba Banglar Sashastra Dheshapremik Bahini (The Armed Patriotic Force of East Bengal) on 30 April 1971 at Swarupkathi in Barisal district. On 3 June 1971, he floated a political party at Peyarabagh in Swarupkathi named Purba Bangla Sarbahara Party as a political platform of the deprived classes including labourers and peasants. The armed cadres of his party launched simultaneous attacks on the Pakistan army and the liberation forces.

After the emergence of Bangladesh, the first congress of the Sarbahara Party was held on 14 January 1972, and Siraj Sikder was elected president of the party. In April 1973, Purba Banglar Jatiya Mukti Front (National Liberation Front of East Bengal) was formed consisting of eleven mass organisations with Siraj Sikder as president. Thereafter he launched armed struggle against the government in different parts of the country with an object of establishing the supremacy and rule of the have-nots. With the promulgation of emergency in the country on 28 December 1974 Siraj Sikder went underground. In 1975, he was arrested at Hali Shahr in Chittagong by the intelligence force of the government, and was escorted to Dhaka by air. He was killed on 2 January 1975 by police firing on his way from Dhaka airport to the Raksi Bahini camp at Savar. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]