• Saturday, Nov 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:06 pm

Aug 21 grenade attack: A timeline of events

  • Published at 11:44 pm August 20th, 2020
File Photo: The then Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina waiving at the crowd during the August 21, 2004 rally in front of the Awami League headquarters at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Avenue before the militants hurled grenades on the gathering leaving over 20 killed and hundreds injured  Courtesy
File Photo: The then Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina waiving at the crowd during the August 21, 2004 rally in front of the Awami League headquarters at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Avenue before the militants hurled grenades on the gathering leaving over 20 killed and hundreds injured Courtesy

Hasina blames the BNP-led government for the attack and asks it to quit

2004 

BNP-led alliance in power

August 21

At 5:22pm, Islamic militant outfit Huji carried out the grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka, killing 24 people and injuring 300 more. Sheikh Hasina narrowly escapes assassination attempt.

Attackers leave the spot safely, reportedly with the help of the administration and the law enforcement agencies.

Hasina blames the BNP-led government for the attack and asks it to quit.

August 22

Shocked Awami League activists stage protests and clash with police in the capital. The government forms a one-member judicial inquiry commission led by a High Court judge.

August 23 

US President George W Bush expresses shock at the grenade attack. US Secretary of State Colin Powell phones Hasina and PM Khaleda Zia to convey the message.

The US, the UK, Pakistan and India offer help to probe the carnage.

The Detective Branch (DB) of police takes charge of investigation but fails to begin its work.

August 25

Several foreign missions in Dhaka express dissatisfaction over the government's poor performance in identifying the criminals involved in the 10-truck arms haul and bomb attacks in different parts of the country.

August 26

The government announces that it will seek Interpol's help to investigate the carnage.  The CID takes over the investigation.

August 29

Interpol experts arrive in Dhaka, scan the carnage scene and collect information from local investigators.

September 1

FBI agents arrive to probe the grenade attack.

September 5

US State Department's counter-terrorism coordinator Joseph Cofer Black arrives and meets Khaleda and Hasina.

October 2

The judicial inquiry commission claims in its report to have identified the perpetrators of the carnage, but its head Justice Joynul Abedin declines to disclose their identities, hinting at the involvement of foreign forces apart from the local ones.

2007

Caretaker Government

July 31

A new CID official is given the charge for fresh investigation into the carnage.

2008

June 11 

The CID submitted a charge sheet accusing 22, including Huji leader Mufti Hannan and former deputy minister of the BNP-led government Abdus Salam Pintu. The chargesheet hints at the involvement of some government and security high-ups in the plot.

October 29

Court frames charges against the 22 accused (and begins trial the following month).

2009

AL-led alliance in power

June 22 

Prosecution files a petition with the court for further investigation to identify the suppliers of grenades and sources of financing.

August 3

Court orders further investigation.

August 12

A new CID official is assigned for conducting further investigation (and he continues the task for about 23 months).

2011

July 3

The CID submits a supplementary chargesheet accusing 30 more individuals, including politicians, senior officials of civil and military intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

2012

March 18 

Court frames fresh charges against 30 individuals accused in the supplementary charge sheet, taking the number of accused to 52.

Khaleda Zia's elder son Tarique Rahman; then state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar; Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then PM Khaleda; Jamaat leader and then social welfare minister Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed; then BNP MP Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad; then DGFI director Brig Gen Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury; then NSI director general Brig Gen Abdur Rahim; owner of Hanif Paribahan Mohammad Hanif; and then councillor of DCC Ward-53 Ariful Islam Arif are charged with masterminding and approving the attack plan executed by Huji men and their accomplices.

Huji founder Abdus Salam, Huji leaders Moulana Sheikh Farid, Moulana Abdur Rouf and Moulana Abdul Hannan Sabbir, Kashmir-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Abdul Malek alias Golam Mohammad, Pakistan-based LeT leader Yusuf Butt alias Majid Butt, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Hafez Moulana Yahya and Babu alias Ratul Babu are indicted for killing, causing grievous hurt, attempt to murder, abetment and criminal liability.

Then IGP Shahudul Haque and then DMP commissioner Ashraful Huda are charged with providing financial and administrative support to the attackers.

Then deputy commissioner (East) of the DMP Obaidur Rahman and then DC (South) of the DMP Khan Sayeed Hassan are charged with having the evidence of the attack vanish and providing the killers with administrative assistance.

Lt Commander (retd) Saiful Islam Duke, also the nephew and private secretary to then PM Khaleda; then director of Counter Terrorism Intelligence Bureau of DGFI Maj Gen ATM Amin; and then DGFI official (later sacked) Saiful Islam Joarder are charged with protecting militant Tajuddin, who supplied the Arges grenades used in the attack, and helping him flee to Pakistan.

Then senior officials of the CID -- SP Ruhul Amin, ASP Munshi Atiqur Rahman and ASP Abdur Rashid -- and former IGP Khoda Baksh Chowdhury are charged with misleading the case and creating the ridiculous Joj Mia drama to save the killers.

Ruhul Amin, Atiqur Rahman and Abdur Rashid were the officials who led the first investigation when Khoda Baksh was the IGP.

March 27

Retrial begins.

2015

Aug 19 

The court so far has recorded the statements of 176 witnesses out of 491 in the case.

2018

September 18

Trial complete

October 10

Verdict pronounced

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