Main opposition BNP yesterday alleged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s speech implicating them and their leaders in the August 21 grenade attack was “politically motivated.”
Its spokesperson and acting secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, claimed at a press briefing at the Naya Paltan headquarters: “BNP always condemned the August 21 grenade attack. We also took to the streets and demonstrated in protest of the attack.
“Prime minister’s speech was false and ill-motivated targeting humiliation of BNP vice chairman, Tarique Rahman. The government had linked BNP and Tarique Rahman to the incident by pressuring Mufti Hannan. Even the appointment of Abdul Kahar Akhand as the investigation office was to implicate Tarique in the case.”
Chief of the banned Harkatul-Jihad al-Islami, Mufti, was one of the prime accused in the case over the bombing on the Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue in 2004. The attack left 24 dead including late president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman and scores of others injured including the then opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina.
Fakhrul went on to say that Hannan was grilled for 120 days only to force him to implicate Tarique in the case. He claimed that Tarique was named despite the Huji chief’s alleged claim at court that the statement was made under duress.
The spokesperson continued that BNP, which was in office at that time, wanted to fairly probe the attack and even brought in the Scotland Yard for investigation. However, the Awami League leaders did not cooperate with them.
“The investigators wanted a key evidence, the bullet-ridden car, but they were not given that car,” he said.
Fakhrul went onto rebut the prime minister’s claim that BNP was tied to militants and said, “BNP was always against all sorts of militancy and terrorism. When we were in power, we took a strong position against militancy.”
He alleged that it was Awami League who patronised terrorism and militancy. “Incidents like the August 21 grenade attack cannot be acceptable to a sane person.”