When we look back upon the 21 August grenade attack in its totality we come up with the conclusion that only persons with darkest of souls can give consent to a massacre of such devilish dimension. On that fateful afternoon, demons of hell had crept out of their accursed tombs to gorge on human blood. They took position in the dark shadows near Bangabandhu Avenue where Sheikh Hasina was to address supporters of Awami League.
As soon as she finished her speech, a series of explosions shook the very ground where she was standing. The grenades were aimed at her but the Providence had other plans. Dozens of leaders came around and shielded her with their body. Some grenade splinters hit the back and arms of those AL leaders who were giving Sheikh Hasina protection. Blood started to gush out of their wounds and yet they did not leave the truck for fear of the life of their beloved leader - the future prime minister of Bangladesh.
Dozens of people who were staunch supporters of Awami League died that afternoon, little knowing why their lives were snatched away in such brutal manner. Among the dead was president of Mahila Awami League Ivy Rahman, wife of former president Zillur Rahman. The BNP-Jamaat alliance government in power at that time showed conspicuous sluggishness in launching a full-fledged, neutral investigation to catch the perpetrators of the ghastly incident.
They made their complicity quite obvious by ordering the city corporation to clean the bloodied avenue overnight with the sole purpose of destroying every bit of evidence. Even the loyal law enforcers had taken away two live grenades from the scene and to everyone’s shock had exploded them. As a result those two grenades could not be displayed in the court as evidence. But media photographs clearly display ‘Made in Pakistan” on the grenades.
The government of the time, in a bid to clear their name from the minds of the people, wrote the script of Joj Mia, a nondescript man belonging to the lower-income class, as the mastermind of the grenade attack. The story of Joj Mia was given front page treatment in all dailies. The notorious Babar, Haris and Tareque Rahman trio tried their best to establish the story of Joj Mia but even many supporters of BNP refused to believe the concocted and farfetched story. Joj Mia was released from jail after the fall of the BNP-Jamaat government and installation of Sheikh Hasina led government in 2008.
The truth about Joj Mia came out after his release and he himself demanded death penalty for all the masterminds of 21 August attack including Tareque Rahman. The dateline 21 August will remain imprinted in the hearts of all who support light over dark. No one can fathom why and how a group of humans could design a vicious act to annihilate another group in cold blood. The BNP-Jamaat schemers had no idea that the same Sheikh Hasina they tried to kill on 21 August 2004 would rule the country as the prime minister for the next 15 years.
History tells us that no regime could last for long by resorting to oppression, murder and mayhem on the opposition or common people. The fate of BNP, Jamaat and others of the same feathers remains a lesson to be learned for the students of political science.