'The unlawful conviction of top BNP leaders on false charges will make people further aggravated'
The government is using the August 21 grenade attack as a political weapon to suppress its opponents, the main opposition BNP alleged on Monday.
Stating that the party wants to see the “exemplary punishment” of the real perpetrators, BNP General Secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called on the government to rethink the “venomous” consequences of using the attack case for political gain, reports UNB.
"The government's naked efforts to unfairly imperil the top BNP leaders and BNP by using the police and judiciary to cash in on the incident, can in no way be acceptable in a civilised society," Fakhrul told a press conference at his party’s Naya Paltan central office.
"We still condemn and protest the brutal incident of August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in 2004 (and) want the trial and exemplary punishment of the real perpetrators of the attack to stop the recurrence of such incidents.”
BNP arranged the press meeting in the wake of comments by top ruling party leaders' which appeared to implicate BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and acting chairman Tarique Rahman with the August 21, 2004 incident which targeted a rally of the then opposition party.
“The unlawful conviction of top BNP leaders on false charges will make people further aggravated,” Fakhrul warned. "The government should take positive steps to solve the existing problems of the country instead of creating new ones."
The BNP leader said their government of the time had taken “various legal steps”, including the arrest of the suspected grenade attackers.
Fakhrul mentioned that in an interview with late Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar in September 2004, Sheikh Hasina said the “Bangladesh Army was involved” in the grenade attack incident. "But neither the court nor any investigation officer asked her the basis of such an allegation," he said.
Fakhrul said that in 2007, while making her deposition to assistant police superintendent Fazlul Kabir, the fifth investigation officer of the grenade attack case, Sheikh Hasina did not bring any allegation against Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.
“Although Sheikh Hasina was the second witness in the case, she did not turn up in the court to make her deposition,” the BNP leader said.
“Tarique Rahman's name was not in the charge sheet accusing 22 people submitted by Fazlul Kabir on August 22, 2007.”
Fakhrul said the case took a different turn when Awami League formed the government in 2009, appointing the “controversial” retired police officer Abdul KaharAkand as the investigating officer.
In 2011, the new CIO submitted a supplementary charge sheet, accusing Tarique and 30 others.
"The basis of the allegation against Tarique was the confessional statement of Mufti Hannan taken from him after keeping him for 410 days under interrogation," Fakhrul said.
"Implicating Tarique Rahman in the August 21 grenade attack case is nothing but a matter of political vengeance."
BNP standing committee members KhandakerMosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan among others were present in Monday’s press meeting.