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Former minister and freedom fighter Shahjahan Siraj no more

Cox Gazette | Online Desk July 14, 2020, 10:08 PM Former minister and freedom fighter Shahjahan Siraj no more

Former minister and freedom fighter Shahjahan Siraj has died of cancer, at the age of 77.

He breathed his last at Evercare Hospital in Dhaka around 3:30 pm today, his son-in-law Omar Sadat confirmed to The Daily Star.

Siraj left behind his wife, a son and a daughter to mourn his death.

He had been suffering from cancer for a long time and was admitted to the hospital when his condition deteriorated yesterday, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reports.

Siraj was vice-chairman of the BNP and also minister for environment and forest during the party's tenure between 2001 and 2006.

The first namaz-e-janaza will be held at Kalihati college ground after his body is taken to his constituency of Kalihati, Tangail.

Later, the second namaz-e-janaza will be held at Gulshan Society Mosque in Dhaka. He will be buried at Banani graveyard after Isha prayers.

Born in Kalihati of Tangail on March 1, 1943, Shahjahan entered the political arena through movements against Hamidur Rahman Education Commission in 1962. He was a student of Sadat College of Karatia in Tangail at the time.

He was elected VP of Karatia Sadat College twice in 1964-65 and 1966-67. He participated in the 1969 mass upsurge movement and became general secretary of the undivided Chhatra League in 1970-1972.

Shahjahan Siraj was a key figure of the Swadhin Bangla Biplabi Parishad, a secret organization that was formed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1962 with the aim of bringing independence to the country.

Siraj read out the manifesto of Bangladesh's independence on March 3, 1971, in front of millions of people and in the presence of Father of the Nation.

He was one of the key organizers of the liberation war and was a commander of the Bangladesh Liberation Force.

After the independence of the country, he played a role to form Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and was the acting general secretary and then president.

Siraj was an elected lawmaker from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal thrice from Tangail-4. He joined BNP in 1995 and secured party nomination and got elected from the same constituency.

When he was minister of environment, some initiatives including the banning of polythene and withdrawal of two-stroke scooters from Dhaka were taken.

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