President, PM pay tribute to grenade attack August 21 victims

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday paid rich tributes to the victims of August 21 grenade attack in 2004 and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs, reports BSS.

In separate messages on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the heinous grenade attack, they urged all to work unitedly to turn the sorrows of August 21 into strength by building a peaceful and democratic Bangladesh which will be free from terrorism and militancy. In his message, President Abdul Hamid termed the heinous grenade attack as another “black chapter” in the history of Bengali nation.

The President said the history’s most barbaric grenade attack was launched on August 21 during an Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue as per a blueprint to kill Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina. Though Sheikh Hasina escaped death by the grace of Almighty Allah, Awami Mahila League’s former President Ivy Rahman and 23 other leaders and activists were killed and many others injured, he added.

Abdul Hamid said many of the injured persons in the attack became crippled for life and now living in endless miseries. “The August 21 in 2004 grenade attack was aimed at making bankrupt the AL and Bangladesh in leadership and stopping democratic process and establishing autocracy and militancy,” he said, adding that the people of the country did not let it happen.

The President expressed his optimism that the pro-democratic and patriotic people will come forward being imbued with the spirit of the War of Liberation to build a dignified, happy and prosperous Bangladesh. He said mutual respect and tolerance are a must to make the country’s democracy meaningful. In a separate message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the barbaric grenade attack was carried out on that day in 2004 under the direct patronization of BNP-Jamaat alliance on an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League to kill me.

Terming the grenade attack a ‘stigmatized day’ in the political history of the country, she said, “Our party leaders and workers saved me from the series of grenade attacks by forming a human-shield.” “I survived the attack due to immense blessings of the Almighty but some 23 leaders and workers including president of Mahila Awami League Ivy Rahman embraced martyrdom, the Premier said, adding that more than 500 leaders and activists, journalists and security personnel were injured.

Sheikh Hasina said it was the moral obligation of a government to arrest the culprits involved with such a heinous attack. But, the then government of BNP protected the killers and helped a number of attackers to leave the country. They destroyed the evidence of the incidence and in the name of investigation, diverted the heinous incident to other direction, she said.

“But truth can never be suppressed. Today, it has come out through investigation that many high-ups of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government were directly involved with the attack,” said the Prime Minister. After 14 years, Dhaka’s 1st Speedy Trial Tribunal handed down the verdict of August 21 grenade attack case. The court awarded death sentence to 19 people including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and life imprisonment to 19 including ex-premier Khaleda Zia’s fugitive son Tarique Rahman and Haris Chowdhury, said Sheikh Hasina.

“Rule of law has been established through this verdict. We hope this verdict will be executed following all legal procedures,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said whenever BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power, they intended to make the country a failed state by patronizing militants and terrorists. She expressed the hope that through the proper trials of the masterminds and perpetrators of August 21 grenade attack, the rule of law would be established in the country. The Prime Minister said the people of the country voted Awami League to power again through a landslide victory on the December 29 in 2008 general election to end all evil-attempts and conspiracies of BNP-Jamaat.

She said her government started working to establish the country on a strong economic basement overcoming all impediments and Bangladesh was moving ahead. On January 5 in 2014 election, the people again voted Awami League to power to keep up the continuation of the Constitution, the Premier said. Sheikh Hasina said in the last nine years, the country has achieved expected progress in every sector and Bangladesh is now a “role model” in socioeconomic development.