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Khaleda, Tarique directly involved in Aug 21 grenade attack: PM

Published on: 7:08 pm - Friday | August 24, 2018

currentnews.com.bd

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused again Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman of perpetrating the barbaric grenade attack on an Awami League rally in 2004, saying that they were directly involved in the carnage.

“There is no doubt that the BNP, the then prime minister Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman were directly involved in the gruesome grenade attack on the Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital,” she said.

The prime minister was speaking at a rally after placing wreaths at the memorial of martyrs of the gruesome grenade attack on Bangabandhu Avenue here on August 21 last on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the carnage.

The makeshift memorial was set up by Bangladesh Awami League in front of its Bangabandhu Avenue central office where the militants lobbed 13 grenades on a peaceful rally of the party on this day in 2004.

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina referred to barring her party’s volunteers by the then government from maintaining security of the AL rally, making attacks on AL leaders and workers instead of rescuing the dead and the injured persons after the rally and destroying the evidence of the grenade attack.

She also mentioned the remarks of Khaleda Zia and her party leaders and planting of twin bombs – one 76-kg and another 84-kg – in Kotalipara some days before the grisly grenade attack and hatching conspiracy of Tarique Rahman by staying in his father-in-law’s residence at Dhanmondi road No. 5 in the capital.

The prime minister said she heard that the BNP-Jamaat nexus had planned to carry out a similar attack on a milad mahfil on August 15 of the same year.

Twenty-four leaders and workers of AL, its associate bodies including the then Mohila AL President Ivy Rahman, wife of late President Zillur Rahman, were killed and over 500 others suffered splinter injuries in the August 21 grenade attack and many of them became crippled for life.

Though Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack, she lost her hearing ability due to the impact of the repeated grenade blasts near the truck-dais of the huge public rally.

The premier said Awami League arranged the rally in front of the party office on August 21, 2004 for peace and in protest against terrorist activities of the militants across the country including an attack on the then British high commissioner at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) in Sylhet.

Sheikh Hasina said a volunteer group comprising Sechchasebak League and Chhatra League leaders and workers is usually engaged in maintaining security of any Awami League meeting and they do it by guarding the adjacent areas and the rooftops of nearby buildings.

“But on that day they (the volunteers) were not allowed to get on the rooftops of the buildings as those were closed. So it’s clear that who were involved in the attack,” she said.

The premier said some days before the rally, Begum Zia had said that the Awami will not be able to go to power in 100 years and “I would never be the prime minister or even the leader of the opposition in future”.

She said Tarique Rahman had mysteriously stayed at his father-in-law’s residence at Dhanmondi road No. 5 in the capital for nine months before the rally.

“Then the attack was carried out to kill me and eliminate the Awami League,” she said.

After the attack on that day, she said, police lobbed tear gas and resorted to lathi charge on AL leaders and worker instead of rescuing the dead and the injured persons.

“The aim of this was to allow attackers to flee without any hindrance,” she said, adding the BNP high-ups rebuked a DGFI official and other police officers who wanted to know about the incident.

Holding the BNP government responsible for destroying the evidence of the grenade attack, Sheikh Hasina said the attackers left the scene under the cover of the law enforcement agencies and they damaged the unexploded grenades and helped the grenade suppliers to leave the country.

“We were not allowed to utter a single word or discuss the matter in parliament. Even we were barred to bring any motion in Jatiya Sangsad to condemn the attack,” she said.

The prime minister said rather, the BNP ministers in parliament tried to make a joke of the incident and said: “I carried the grenades in my vanity bag to stage the attack.”

Sheikh Hasina said not a single time, attempts on her life was made time and again.

She said there is also no doubt that Zia family was involved in the August 15 massacre in 1975 as Zia’s government rewarded the Bangabandhu’s killers giving them indemnity.

“We saw the same incident after the August 21 grenade attack. Instead of tracking down the real culprits, the BNP-Jamaat government staged the ‘Joj Mian drama’ with an innocent village man to divert the incident to other direction,” she said.

The prime minister said there is no expert than BNP to spread rumours and resort to falsehood as the party spread rumors at places, even among the children of the schools saying that, “I hurled grenades by carrying those in my vanity bag.”

Urging the countrymen to always keep in mind the BNP’s character, the premier said: “I want the people to always remember the incidents like August 21 grenade attack”.

Sheikh Hasina asked Awami League leaders and workers not to give any place to those who carried out the grisly grenade attack and who killed the women and children through arson attacks.

“Those who can perpetrate the heinous grenade attack in broad daylight can never make welfare of the country and the people … they can only know taking blood, and the countrymen will always have to be careful about them,” she said.

“Don’t give such elements to any place of the party as they emerged through the politics of killing, coup and conspiracy and their character will never be changed,” she told the party men.

The AL chief said the BNP-Jamaat elements only know terrorism, militancy, corruption, money laundering and embezzlement of orphans’ money. “They only know enjoyment and don’t know to deliver anything,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina recalled that Bangladesh was turned into a country of bloodbath and a sanctuary of terrorism and militancy after the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975.

“After assuming office in 1996, we tried to root out terrorism and militancy. Despite that our leaders and activists became the victims of killing and torture by the BNP-Jamaat clique,” she said.

Entering the Awami League, she said, the BNP-Jamaat elements create trouble inside the party (AL), “kill our party leaders and workers and later they put blame on us.”

Earlier, the premier first placed a wreath at the memorial, and then flanked by leaders of Awami League, she, as the president of the party, placed another wreath.

AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader was present on the dais, while party’s Publicity and Publication Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud conducted the ceremony.

Cabinet members, senior leaders of Awami League and 14-party combine and family members of the martyrs and those injured in the incident were present.

A minute’s silence was observed in memory of those killed in the grenade attack while a munajat was also offered seeking eternal peace of the departed souls. After her address,

Sheikh Hasina met relatives of the victims of the grenade attack.

 

(BSS)

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