[The report was printed on Aug 26, 2014]
BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman on Sunday said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was involved in the August 21 grenade attack on Awami League rally.
Referring to the PM's recent remarks accusing top BNP and Jamaat leaders of being directly involved in the grisly attack 10 years back, Tarique questioned why the AL had changed the rally venue from Muktangan to Bangabandhu Avenue at one and a half hours' notice.
“The Awami League was given permission to hold the rally at the city's Muktangan that day. But why did the party leaders change the venue at such a short notice? It proves Sheikh Hasina knew about the attack and she was involved in it,” said the BNP second-in-command, himself a top accused in the sensational case.
Tarique, who has been living abroad since 2008, said this while addressing a seminar at Queen Mary University in London.
A supplementary charge sheet, submitted a year after the trial began in 2011 on the basis of an earlier probe, stated that the BNP-led four-party alliance government attempted to protect the masterminds behind the attack.
Probe also revealed that the August 21 blasts were an outcome of collaboration between the banned militant outfit Huji, influential leaders of the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami, and a band of senior officials of the home ministry, police, DGFI, NSI and the Prime Minister's Office.
According to the supplementary charge sheet, Tarique held two meetings with Huji leaders a few days before the attack and gave them the go-ahead to carry out the blasts.
Tarique's tirade came three days after Hasina, addressing a public meeting marking the 10th anniversary of the August 21 attack, alleged that Ziaur Rahman was behind Bangabandhu's assassination while Khaleda Zia, her elder son Tarique Rahman, and cabinet members of then BNP-led government were directly involved in the August 21 attack.
In his over two-hour speech in two sessions, Tarique termed Bangabandhu's family not only “a killer family but also a curse for the country".
Referring to the PM's comment that Khandaker Moshtaque was a “black sheep”, Tarique said the same people who had attended the oath-taking of Moshtaque cabinet after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are now ministers and leaders in Sheikh Hasina's "illegal government."
He said only a lunatic or a power-hungry person can keep the killers of her father in her cabinet.
"So it can be summed up that the Awami League is indeed a party of black sheep. These black sheep have now targeted the Zia family to hide their misdeeds," he said claiming again that his father Ziaur Rahman was Bangladesh's first president and proclaimer of the country's independence.