Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said many of the players belonging to BNP-Jamaat alliance were directly involved in the attack on an Awami League rally in 2004 that killed as many as 24 people.
She also called the people to turn the grief of August 21 attack into strength to build a peaceful democratic Bangladesh free of terrorism and militancy.
She made the call in a message on the eve of the 12th anniversary of a brutal grenade attack on the Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in the city that killed some 24 leaders and activists.
“My expectation on this day is that we would establish ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation by eliminating militancy,” the Prime Minister said.
She said the main objective of August 21 grenade attack was to frustrate the country’s independence, democracy, peace and progress.
“The aim of the August 21 was also to make killing, conspiracy, militancy, corruption and misrule a permanent phenomenon and destroy the spirit of the War of Liberation by making Bangladesh leaderless,” she said.
The Prime Minister said although it was the moral responsibility of the government to bring the killers to book, the then BNP-Jamaat regime tried its level best to protect them.
“The then government helped a number of attackers to flee the country and destroyed the evidence of the incident. In the name of investigation, they also diverted the heinous crime to a different direction,” she added.
Citing the investigation report, the Prime Minister said truth could not be suppressed.
“Later investigations revealed that many of the players belonging to BNP-Jamaat alliance were directly involved in the attack.”
Hasina hoped that the killing, terrorism and militancy would end in the country forever and rule of law would be established after the holding of trial of the attackers, planners, order issuers and patrons.
She said the trial of the August 21 grenade attackers is going on.
“We have upheld democracy and rule of law,” she said and referred to the execution of the verdict of the Bangabandhu killing case, war crimes cases and the trial process of jail killing case.
Terming August 21 a ‘day of black chapter’ in the country’s political history, Hasina said, “The killers carried out the barbaric attack in the broad daylight on an anti-militancy rally of Awami League on Bangabandhu Avenue to kill me under the patronage of the then BNP-Jamaat alliance government.”
“Our party leaders and workers by forming a human-shield saved me from a series of grenade attacks,” she recalled.
Hasina said she narrowly survived the attacks due to divine blessing.
“But some 24 leaders and workers including president of Mohila Awami League Ivy Rahman embraced martyrdom and over 500 AL leaders and workers, journalists and security personnel were injured,” she said, adding many of the injured are now leading a painful life with splinters.
While in power, the BNP-Jamaat government was always engaged in ill efforts to make Bangladesh a dysfunctional state by patronizing militants and terrorists, the Prime Minister said and referred to the return of the Awami League to power with a huge mandate of the people in 2008.
Hasina urged all to pay due tribute to the martyrs of August 21 by building a peaceful and safe country.