Attackers can return
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday tries to console a victim of the August 21, 2004, grenade attack on an Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue. She also handed the victims financial aid at her party office nearby. Photo: BSS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon all to remain alert against the 'BNP-Jamaat-Hefajat', saying these elements would resort to terrorism, militancy and killings if they came to power.
"Those who can attack a political party's rally in broad daylight aiming at eliminating opponents will turn Bangladesh into a den of militants and terrorists and will consequently destroy the country.
"So you [people] have to remain cautious about them," she said.
Hasina, president of the Awami League, was addressing a rally at Bangabandhu Avenue to mark the ninth anniversary of the gruesome grenade attack on an AL rally on August 21, 2004.
Altogether 24 leaders and workers of AL, including late president Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and more than 300 others were injured on the day.
Many of the injured were maimed for life. Hasina, a prime target of the attack, narrowly escaped the bloodbath.
Yesterday, family members of the victims demanded immediate punishment of the killers.
"We want punishment for those who killed my husband," Maksuda Azad, who came to the rally to mourn the loss of her husband, Abul Kalam Azad, told reporters.
Like her, many family members of the grenade attack victims joined the rally to pay tributes to their dear ones.
All of them echoed Maksuda, saying it would be a big relief for them if the trials of the killers are completed soon.
Addressing the rally, the premier said the investigation into the attack had been completed and the killers would certainly be brought to book.
"You have seen that the names of Khaleda Zia's son and the ministers of her (previous) government have surfaced during the investigation," she said.
Hasina claimed that her government had contained militancy and terrorism with an iron hand.
"At least no attack like that of August 21 on the opposition took place in our tenure as we do not believe in vendetta. I don't want such incident occurring in the country anymore," she said.
The premier, in an emotion-choked voice, said grenades used in war had been were hurled at her party rally only to eliminate her and the AL leadership.
She alleged that the BNP-Jamaat alliance government had destroyed all the evidence of the attack and helped the culprits to flee. They even made a farce in the name of investigation, the premier added.
Before the grenade attack, BNP lawmakers had threatened her in parliament with facing the same consequences that her father and family members had faced on August 15, 1975, Hasina said.
The premier, cabinet members, leaders of different political parties and victims' family members placed wreaths at a makeshift memorial which was set up in front of the AL office in memory of those killed in the attack.
Hasina also distributed cheques and savings certificates among the family members of the victims.