by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed the then ruling Bangladesh-Nationalist Party-led alliance of carrying out the grisly grenade attacks on her anti-terrorism rally that killed at least 24 people and wounded many others 17 years ago.
The attack was carried out on August 21, 2004 at the rally organized by the then opposition in parliament Awami League apparently to eliminate the League’s front-ranking leaders, including Hasina, who narrowly survived the attempt.
“None could even imagine such attempt was made to kill (me and front ranking leaders of the AL) by charging grenades in broad-day light,” Hasina, also the chief of the Awami League party, told a discussion marking the 17th anniversary of the attack.
Carrying out such an attack was impossible without the government patronage, said the Prime Minister citing many happenings designed by the then government in the aftermath to divert public attention.
Destroying the evidences, helping the attackers to flee the country and launching of false investigation procedure were among those activities that the then government resorted to cover up, said Hasina.
She also referred a series of statements by the then prime minister Khaleda Zia ahead of the attacks that Hasina would not able to be Prime Minister of this country, not even an opposition leader.
Khaleda also had made public statement that the Awami League would not be able to return to office in 100 more years, Hasina mentioned during the virtual discussion organized at the Awami League headquarters in Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Avenue where the grenade attacks were carried out. Hasina joined the discussion from her official Ganabhabna residence.
The then prime minister knew everything before the attack, said the premier adding the plots will be unearthed if anyone follows the forecast made by the then prime minister.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader delivered the introductory speech at the discussion. The discussion was participated among others by AL Presidium Member Matia Chowdhury, Joint General Secretary and Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Central Working Committee Member Mostofa Jalal Mohiuddin, Organising Secretary SM Kamal Hossain, Dhaka North and South City AL Presidents Sheikh Bazlur Rahman and Abu Ahmed Mannafi among others.
A minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect to the memory of those died in the grenade attack.
Hasina said her arch rival Khaleda Zia had sent abroad four persons, including one of the perpetrators of attack Maulana Tajuddin, one jail guard involved in the attack and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killers Rashid and Dalim by Singapore Airlines at around 11:30pm on that day.
It was learnt that Rashid and Dalim came to Dhaka at that time and were under supervision of Khaleda Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman, Hasina said adding that a section of officers at the intelligence agencies including DGFI, NSI and police were involved in the attack.
The perpetrators had decided to leave the country when they were sure that Hasina did not die as per their plan, she said accusing the BNP-Jammat alliance for establishing reign of terror across Bangladesh after their assumption to office through the rigged 2001 election.