Khaleda, her son behind August 21 grenade attack: PM
Recalling the barbaric carnage, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today alleged that the then PM Khaleda Zia staged the August 21, 2004 grenade attack.
"Returning to power, Khaleda Zia staged the grenade attack. Those who were involved in the conspiracy of August 21 grenade attack, during interrogation, later mentioned that Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman was also involved in that conspiracy," she said.
Sheikh Hasina made the allegation while addressing a discussion marking the August 21 grenade attack. Awami League organised the event at its Bangabandhu Avenue central office. The Prime Minister attended the event virtually from her official residence Gono Bhaban.
Hasina said it was not possible to carry out an attack like that had there been no direct patronage from the then BNP-Jamaat government.
She said the then BNP-Jamaat government assembled terrorists and militants in one place, provided training for waging such an attack and gave them safe passage to flee abroad.
"They (BNP-Jamaat government) thought that I had died (in the grenade attack), but when they came to know that I didn't die they allowed the militants to flee the country," Hasina said.
After the attack, she said, police lobbed teargas shells and charged baton on AL leaders and workers instead of rescuing the victims.
Hasina said even BNP-Jamaat-backed doctors did not attend to the injured AL leaders and workers at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and no patient was allowed to enter BSMMU as it was closed.
The Prime Minister alleged that carrying out killings was their "habit" as they do not believe in the country's independence and they did not believe in the spirit of Liberation War.
"Power for them was a tool to make money through corruption," she said.
In this connection, Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh is still suffering from the "poisonous tree of corruption" planted by the BNP-Jamaat clique. "After assuming power, we're uprooting those one by one."
AL general secretary Obaidul Quader also spoke at the programme joined by senior leaders of the party.
The barbaric grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League on Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on August 21, 2004 during the BNP-Jamaat government aiming to wipe out the AL leadership.
Twenty-four people, including then president of Mohila Awami League and late President Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and over 500 others suffered splinter injuries in the grisly attack and many of them became crippled for life.
Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader, narrowly escaped the attack but sustained hearing impairment due to the impact of the repeated grenade blasts near the truck-dais of the huge public rally. AL men saved her life creating a human shield surrounding her during the attack.
Referring to some remarks made by Khaleda Zia before the grisly grenade attack and planting of twin bombs -- one of 76 kg and another of 84 kg -- in Kotalipara, the Prime Minister said, "Before every attack, Khaleda Zia used to say Awami League won't be able to go to power in 100 years. And right before the grenade attack, she said Sheikh Hasina can never be the leader of the opposition, let alone the Prime Minister, as she knew beforehand, I would be killed on August 21," she said.
The then government destroyed the evidence of the gruesome attack while an army officer lost his job as he wanted to preserve an unexploded grenade used in the attack, she said. "They tried to erase all the evidence of the attack."
"And all know about a staged drama by the government," she said, pointing to the Joj Mia issue which was later proved false.