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‘No doubt about BNP’s involvement in Aug 21 grenade attack’

  • Published at 01:19 pm August 21st, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing a program on August 21, 2018 Focus Bangla

Twenty-four people were killed in the attack August 21, 2004

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said there is no doubt that BNP – its chief Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman – were involved in the grenade attack on August 21, 2004.

"There is no doubt about the involvement of BNP, Khaleda Zia, and her son in the grenade attack," she said on Tuesday, reports UNB.

The prime minister made the statement after placing wreaths at a makeshift memorial, built in memory of the victims of the grenade attack, in front of Awami League central office on Bangabandhu Avenue.

Twenty-four people, including then president of Awami Mohila League, and late president Zillur Rahman's wife, Ivy Rahman, were killed in the attack August 21, 2004.

Over 500 others suffered splinter wounds in the attack and many of them were disabled for life.

The attack was carried out at an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack but her hearing was impaired— due to the impact of the repeated grenade blasts, near the truck-dais, at the huge public rally.

Sheikh Hasina said the BNP-Jamaat alliance, in power at that time, carried out the attack.

She said: "We were not allowed to utter a single word or discuss the matter in parliament. We were even barred from bringing a motion at the Jatiya Sangsad to condemn the attack. So, it is clear who were involved in this incident."

Referring to some of Khaleda’s remarks, she said her party leaders and Tarique were staying at his father-in-law's residence in Dhanmondi for months before the grenade attack.

"Khaleda Zia used to say that I would never be able to become a prime minister—nor even the leader of the opposition in the future...," she said adding, "From the comments of the BNP leader and her party men, it seems that they had wanted to remove me from this world."

Holding the BNP government responsible for destroying evidence of the attack, the prime minister said the attackers left the scene under the cover of law enforcers and destroyed the unexploded grenades.

She said no effort was made to rescue the injured on Bangabandhu Avenue. 

"Instead, the policemen lobbed teargas shells and resorted to baton charges to disperse the Awami League leaders and workers who came forward to the help the injured.

She added that the law enforcers did not allow any vehicle to go to the scene.

Without arresting the real culprits, Sheikh Hasina said BNP-Jamaat staged the Judge Mia drama to divert the case in another direction.

Referring to several murder attempts on her life, she said there is no doubt that the Zia family was involved in the August 15 carnage where Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed along with his family.

Earlier in the day, Sheikh Hasina placed a wreath at the memorial as president of Awami League.  Cabinet members, prime minister's advisers, senior leaders of Awami League and 14-party, also the family members of the victims of the attack were present at the time.  

After the event, Sheikh Hasina met relatives of the victims of the grenade attack.

The prime minister was received by Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at the venue.