A pall of gloom descended on the people of Bangladesh as the mindlessgrenade attack claims innocent lives on the spot. File Photo

Habibullah Mizan
The deadly grenade attack at the anti-terrorism rally of the Awami League on August 21 in 2004 in Dhaka was the worst-ever carnage in the history of the mankind.
The then-leader of the opposition, Sheikh Hasina was the main target of the attackers. Twenty four people, including Ivy Rahman, the senior most leader of AL, were killed and scores seriously injured. Sheikh Hasina luckily escaped the attack.
Following the gruesome attack, the rally spot had turned into a valley of death. Without the direct involvement of the government high ups and the law enforcing agencies, it would have been simply impossible to charge the attack, according to the conscious people of the society.
Security experts also claimed that such types of grenades usually are used in warfare. Investigators claimed that some highly-placed people from the then Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) were directly involved in the grenade attack.
They also had helped Maulana Tajuddin, one of the masterminds of the attack, flee the country.
Former DGFI Director Major General (retd) ATM Amin Ahmad was the kingpin in helping terror Maulana Tajuddin to flee to Pakistan. He was very influential officer during the army-backed caretaker government. After Awami League came to power in 2009, he went to the US. According to government sources, he is still living there. DGFI officials also supplied him a fake passport and managed visas for the terror.
Credible sources in the court said some DGFI officials escorted him to the airport and boarded Maulana Tajuddin on flight to Pakistan.
Maulana Tajuddin is the brother of former BNP deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, who is also one of the accused in the cases.
BNP insiders claimed Pintu was very close to the then-state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar and BNP acting Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman. Both Babar and Tarique are also alleged masterminds in the grenade attack.According to investigators, the attack was planned at the official residence of Pintu and his brother Tajuddin was responsible for planning and arrangement.
Their other brother Babul alias Ratul is also charged in court for the attacks. Some DGFI officials allowed a safe passage for Maulana Tajuddin in 2006t from Bangladesh.
Court documents said that then-DGFI officials Maj Gen ATM Amin, Lt Commander Saiful Islam and Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder arrange safe passage for the terror after getting clearance from Babar.
Lt Col Joarder arranged for the passport under the name of Md Badal. He also arranged the boarding pass for Maulana Tajuddin for his flight to Pakistan.
DGFI officials Major Manirul Islam and Lt Commander Mizan on October 10 escorted Tajuddin to the then Zia International Airport. The DGFI officials waited in the airport till Maulana Tajuddin boarded in the flight.
From Pakistan’s Karachi, Maulana Tajuddin later went to South Africa.
The Interpol issued a red corner notice for Maulana Tajuddin in 2008 and in 2014, Bangladesh was informed that Maulana Tajuddin has been traced in South Africa. He is still under surveillance of South African police.
According to the sources, Maulana Tajuddin has close links with three Pakistan-based Islamist terror organisations Harkatul Mujahideen, Hijbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayaba. Law enforcers are suspecting that any of the militant outfits might have provided him with Arges grenades, which were used for the attack.
Maolana Tajuddin also has close ties with detained Huji leader Mufti Abdul Hannan who studied with him at a Quwami madrasa in Lahore of Pakistan in the 80s.
Mufti Hannan, one of the masterminds of the grenade attacks, is also a charge-sheeted accused in the cases. He was executed for his involvement in grenade attack on British High commissioner in Sylhet.
Maulana Tajuddin was also a liaison in Bangladesh for South Asia-based Islamist militant outfits, which was revealed in the statement by Pakistan national Adbul Mazed alias Yousuf Batt. Batt is the only Pakistani national who is a key accused in the grenade attack.
In 2000, Pakistani secret service Inter-Service Intelligence( ISI) sent him to Bangladesh to build a safe home in Bangladesh for Pakistani terrorists.
Maulana Tajuddin went to Pakistan in the 90s for higher studies at Qawmi madrasas, where he was radicalised and trained in militancy.
He returned in 2001 and started to work at Madrasa in capital Dhaka. But quit a few years later and involved in business with his wife’s family.
Investigators said Maulana Tajuddin was involved with Islamist political outfit Khelafote Majlish, as part of his plan to portray himself to the people as an ordinary and pious man.
Soon after coming back from Pakistan, he obtained the passport with the name of Md Badal.
The passport was issued to him on Jul 3, 2001 from Rajshahi. It shows he is the son of Dr Mahidduin, which is actually his father’s name, and born on Feb 1, 1973.
However, the permanent address was in Rajshahi, though Tajuddin’s family hails from Tangail.
The passport obtained citing emergency travel to India for medical treatment, said he was a businessman.
Investigations revealed that a Rajshahi metro police’s deputy commissioner issued the no-objection certificate for issuing the passport.
One Dr Azizul Haque attested the application for the passport.
Security analysts say that it was a common practice of militants to prepare documents with fake names as getaway plans in case some goes wrong. But the unusual thing in this case was one of the top intelligence agencies of the country helped to escape him.