A file photo of grenade attack in front of Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said there is no doubt that BNP, its chief Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman were involved in the brutal grenade attack on August 21, 2004.
‘There’s no doubt about the involvement of BNP, Khaleda Zia and her son in the grenade attack,’ she said.
The prime minister said this while speaking after placing wreaths at a makeshift memorial built in memory of the martyrs of gruesome grenade attack carried out on August 21, 2004 in front of Awami League central office at Bangabandhu Avenue.
Twenty-four people, including then president of Awami Mohila League and late president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and over 500 others suffered splinter wounds in the barbaric attack and many of them got crippled for life.
The attack was carried out at an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack but sustained hearing impairment due to the impact of the repeated grenade blasts near the truck-dais of the huge public rally.
The prime minister said the BNP-Jamaat alliance, in power at that time, organised the attack and there is no doubt about it. ‘We were not allowed to utter a single word or discuss the matter in parliament. Even we were barred from bringing a motion at the Jatiya Sangsad to condemn the attack. So, it’s clear who were involved in this incident.’
Referring to some remarks of Khaleda Zia, Hasina said her party leaders and her son Tarique were staying in his father-in-law’s residence on Dhanmondi road No. 5 in the capital for consecutive months before the gruesome grenade attack.
‘Begum Zia used to say I would never be able to be the prime minister nor even the leader of the opposition in the future...,’ she said adding, ‘It seems from the comments of the BNP leader and her party men that they had wanted to remove me from this world.’
Holding the BNP government responsible for destroying the evidence of the grenade attack, the prime minister said the attackers left the scene undercover of law enforcers and they destroyed the unexploded grenades.
Hasina said no effort was seen to rescue the injured at Bangabandhu Avenue. ‘Instead, the policemen lobbed teargas shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the AL leaders and workers who came forward to the help the injured, she said, adding the law enforcers also didn’t allow any vehicle to go to the scene.’
Without arresting the real culprits, Hasina said, the BNP-Jamaat clique staged the Judge Mia drama to divert the case into another direction.
Referring to several killing attempts on her life, Hasina again said, ‘There is no confusion that the Zia family was involved in the August 15 carnage where Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other family members were killed brutally.’
Earlier, the prime ministerplaced wreaths at the makeshift memorial set up by Bangladesh Awami League in front its party office.
She first placed a wreath at the memorial and then another, flanked by leaders of Awami League, as president of the party. Cabinet members, PM’s advisers, senior leaders of Awami League and 14-party combine and family members of the martyrs and those injured in the incident were present. After the programme, Sheikh Hasina met relatives of the victims of the grenade attack.
Earlier on her arrival at the venue, the prime minister was received by AL general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader.