Local extremists carried out Aug 21 grenade attack: judge

Muktadir Rashid | Published: 00:05, Oct 11,2018 | Updated: 01:58, Oct 11,2018

 
 

Convicts in August 21 grenade attack case look through the court window after verdict on Wednesday. — Sourav Lasker

The Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 1, in Wednesday’s verdict in two cases for a grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka on August 21, 2004, observed that realising political benefits killing opposition leaders reflected no democratic thought.
Tribunal judge Shahed Nuruddin made the observation sentencing former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and 17 others to death, acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman and 18 others to life and the rest 11 accused to imprisonment for varying terms in the two cases.
The tribunal said that it did not want any recurrence of such grenade attacks on AL rally in Dhaka, former finance minister Shah MS Kibria in Habiganj and British high commissioner at Sylhet shrine and bomb attack on Ramna batamul in Dhaka.
About the August 21 grenade attack, the tribunal observed that local extremists carried out the attack with the assistance of international extremist groups.
With the help of the then state machinery, arges grenades were exploded in front of the Awami League headquarters in Dhaka.
It is obvious that there will be differences of opinion on hundreds of issues between the ruling and the opposition parties, but no effort to make the opposition leaderless is expected, the tribunal observed.
‘Question arises why such weapons would be used? Does politics mean grisly attack on opposition? Not only attack, but also attempts to make the opposition party leaderless,’ the judge observed in the verdict.
‘In a democracy, whichever party is in power it has to make utmost efforts to establish democracy adopting a liberal policy towards the opposition. Realising political benefits by ruling party killing opposition leaders cannot be an exposure of democratic thoughts. General masses do not want such politics,’ the tribunal observed.
Twenty-four people, including late president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and over 200 were injured in the grenade attack on the rally of the then main opposition Bangladesh Awami League in front of its central office at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.
Awami League president Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, escaped the attack but the explosions caused her hearing damage.

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