AUGUST 21 GRENADE ATTACK

Death reference, appeals pending since November 

Tapos Kanti Das and M Moneruzzaman | Published: 00:00, Aug 21,2019

 
 

This file photo shows people are running for cover following a grenade attack on an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka on August 21, 2004. — Focus Bangla photo

The death reference and the convicts’ appeals against the trial court verdict in the cases of August 21, 2004 grenade attack on Awami League rally at the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue await hearing by the High Court Division since November 2018 as its registrar’s office is yet to make the  paper books.

The Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 on October 10, 2018 handed death sentences to former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and 17 others and life terms to acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman and 18 others and 11 others to varying jail terms in two cases, one for murders and the other under the Explosive Substances Act.

A number of survivors who are associated with AL politics alleged that the attack was launched on orders from Tarique Rahman to kill AL president and the then leader in the opposition Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, in a bid to destroy the family of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the AL.

The victims urged the government to  bring back Tarique Rahman from abroad to execute his sentence.

They also demanded  arrest of all the absconding convicts and executing the sentences immediately.

On Tuesday, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters at his office that the registrar’s office of the High Court Division was yet to make the paper books needed to hear the death reference and the appeals.

‘I will draw the attention of the High Court Division for holding speedy hearing after the paper books had been made,’ he said.

On November 27, 2018, the High Court Division received the two death references of 19 convicts from the trial court.

And 31 detained convicts appealed against the verdict of the trial court.

As 18 other convicts, including Tarique Rahman, are absconding they could not  appeal against the trial court’s verdict.

The then Swechchchhasebak League’s Dhaka north women’s affairs secretary Mahbuba Parvin, 35 then, recalled the day of ‘horror’ that paralyzed her left side and demanded immediate execution of the sentences. ‘I demand Tarique Rahman’s death penalty as he ordered the attack.’

If the verdict is executed none would dare  to attack or kill any political leader in future,’ said Mahbuba who needs  support to walk.

Echoing her, survivor Samrat Akbor Sabuj who was only 19 then and came to the rally with his parents, said BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, being the then prime minister, could not deny her responsibility, and, ‘therefore, she should have been tried.’

Samrat, president of Awami Sonar Bangla League said that the attack snatched away his ability to walk without support.

Samrat’s parents were also injured.

The trial court handed deaths to Babar, Pintu, Hanif Enterprise owner Muhammad Hanif, former National Security Intelligence director general Razzaqul Haider Chowdhury, who was the director counter intelligence bureau of the DGFI during the attack, the then NSI director general retired brigadier general Abdur Rahim, Mawlana Md Taj Uddin, Mawlana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Indian national Md Abdul Mahed Bhat alias Md Yusuf Bhat, Abdul Maleq alias Golam Mohammad alias GM, Mawlana Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid, Mohibullah alias Mafizur Rahman alias Ovi, Mawlana Abu Sayeed alias Doctor Zafar, Abul Kalam Azad alias Bulbul, Md Jahangir Alam, Hafez Mawlana Abu Taher, Hossain Ahmed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh alias Mufti Moin alias Khaja alias Abu Jandal alias Masum Billah, Md Rafiqul Islam alias Sabuj alias Khalid Saifullah alias Shamim alias Rashed, Md Uzzal alias Ratan and fined Tk one lakh each on charge of murders through criminal conspiracy with common intention. They were also jailed for life on the charge of hurting and injuring through criminal conspiracy with common intention.

The same individuals were also sentenced to death and jailed  for 20 years in the 2nd  case under the Explosive Substances Act.

The tribunal handed life terms to Tarique,  the then prime minister political secretary Abul Harris Chowdhury, former BNP MP Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad, war commissioner Arifur Rahman Arif, Shahadot Ullah alias Jewel, Moulana Abdur Rouf alias Abu Omor Abu Homaira alias Pir Shaheb, Mawlana Sabbir Ahmed alias Abdul Hannan Sabbir, Arif Hasan alias Sumon alias Abdur Razzak, Hafez Mawlana Yahia, Abu Bakar alias Hafez Selim Hawlader, Mohibul Muttakin alias Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Muhammad Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Muhammad Iqbal, Liton alias Moulana Liton, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai and Ratul Ahmed Babu alias Ratul Babu for life term and fined Tk 50,000 each on charge of murder through criminal conspiracy with common intention.

Each of former inspectors general of police Ashraful Huda and Shahudul Haque, retired lieutenant commander Saiful Islam Duke, also Khaleda’s nephew, and his brother-in-law and lieutenant colonel Saiful Islam Joarder then serving the DGFI, his boss retired major general ATM Amin, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s the then deputy commission (south) Khan Sayeed Hassan and deputy commissioner (east) Obaidur Rahman Khan, the then Criminal Investigation Department chief Khuda Baksh Chowdhury, the cases’ first supervising officer special superintendent of police Ruhul Amin and investigators and assistant superintendents of police Abdur Rashid and Munshi Atikur Rahman were jailed for two years.

The course for the investigation into, and the story about, the grenade attack had been changed time and again with the changes in the state power.

The CID had arrested 20 people and allegedly forced Muhammad Jamal alias George Miah, Abul Hasem Rana and Shafiqul Islam to confess to the attack in 2005.

Twenty-four people, including late president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and over 200 were injured in the grenade attack.

Sheikh Hasina’s hearing was impaired in the explosions.    

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