AUGUST 21, 2004 will go down as one of the blackest days in our political history. Unlike the cold blooded murder of Bangabandhu with most of his family members on August 15, 1975, carried out by a group of misguided officers and their followers, the grenade attack on the top leadership of Awami League (AL) in 2004 was a premeditated attempt to end the lives of Sheikh Hasina and the top brass of the party happened during a civilian government in which a part of the government was involved. While the present prime minister survived, many did not. Such a massacre of politicians during civil rule can hardly be seen in South Asia let alone the world.
The reluctance of the elected government of the day to carry out a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the incident left many questions lingering as to who was really behind the attack. The investigation from inception was misdirected. That a deliberate attempt by intelligence and investigative apparatuses of the State tried to portray the events of August 21 as being the result of an internecine conflict of the Awami League failed to convince anybody.
The event had a devastating impact on the future course of our politics. The near permanent conflict and distrust that had been a feature of the AL-BNP politics from the very start took a turn for the worse from that event of August 21, 2004 which left 24 people dead some 200 others injured. We hope such a day never returns in our political life.