Fifteen years have passed since Narayanganj bomb blast at a Awami League party office that left 20 people killed and injured over 50, but trial of the case is going at snail pace, much to create frustration among families of the victims.
Victims' family members alleged that both Awami League and BNP are doing business capitalising the issue.
Court sources said as main accused of the case Mufti Hannan was accused in several cases across Bangladesh, it was not possible to present him before the court during each hearing which delays trial process of the case.
Public Prosecutor of the case Advocate KM Fazlur Rahman said Mufti Hannan was accused of 51 cases which had been filed with different police stations across the country.
He said: “Trial of the case is still going on the right track.”
Assistant Police Super of Criminal Investigation Department and also Investigation Officer of the case Ehsan Uddin Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that police submitted charge sheet of the case accusing six people and acquitting 31 others on May 2, 2013, almost 13 years after the bomb explosion.
Other accused of the case are militant leader Obaidullah Rahman, Narayanganj City Corporation Councillor Shawkat Hashem Shaku, Shahadatullah Jewel, and twin brothers – Anisul Morsalin and Muhibul Mottakin.
Of the accused, Anisul Morsalin and Muhibul Mottakin are in a Delhi jail while Shawkat Hashem Shaku and Obaidullah Rahman have been released on bail.
Investigation officer of the case Ehsan Uddin Chowdhury said the militants had carried out the bomb attack as Shamim Osman imposed a ban on the entrance of senior Jamaat leaders, including Golam Azam, Delwar Hossain Saydee and Mujahidul Islam, in the district.
“Mufti Hannan, leader of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, was the mastermind and financier of the attack,” said the IO.
In reply to a question why any Jamaat leader had not been accused in the case, he said: “Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami has emerged with the assistant of Jamaat, but we did not find any direct involvement of Jamaat in the attack.”
During the investigation, police found involvement of eight people, but they had to press charge sheet against six people as two people – Moninullah David and Kajol had died earlier.
He also claimed that police did not face any political pressure during investigation. “We have submitted impartial charge sheet,” he added.
Chandon Shil who has become lame in the bomb explosion said: “I had to go through hardship after the attack. I could not complete my treatment in Germany due to financial crunch. Once, I had to pass days with family in starvation. I could not provide rent of my house. Moreover, during the tenure of BNP-backed four party alliance, I faced harassment.”
Ratan Kumar Das, another victim, said: “I could not walk properly as my two legs got injured during the attack. Still, I can hear the groaning of injured people.”
Imtiaz Hossain, son of Delwar Hossain who was killed in the explosion, said: “We are running livelihood with help of our relatives.”
Hamida Begun, widow of Nazarul Islam, said she was maintaining her family by doing private tuition.
People who had been killed in the blast include Saidul Hasan Bappi, the then Narayanganj district unit president of Bangladesh Chhatra League, Nazrul Islam Bacchu, singer, Poly Begum, a leader of Mohila Awami League, Delwar Hossain Bhasani, joint-secretary of Fatullah police station unit Awami League, Shawkat Hossain Mukta, poet, Halima, owner of a tea stall.
Khokon Saha filed two case accusing 27 leaders and activists of BNP, including Taimur Alam Khankar with Narayanganj police station.
In April, 2001, the case was closed saying that none of 27 people who had been made accused in bomb blast case that took place at Awami League party office in Chasara on June 16, 2001 were not involved with the attack.
Later, the case was reopened on June 2, 2009 after Awami League led 14 party assumed power.