Monday, June 24, 2024

Grenade attack case ready to begin soon

The ruling Awami League, its different associate bodies and organisations will observe the deadly 21 August Grenade Attack Day with due solemnity across the country on Sunday. They have chalked out various programmes to mourn the victims of the grenade attacks, says a party press release.
Party leaders and activists will place floral wreaths at 11 am tomorrow at the temporary monument  at  Bangabandhu Avenue’s party office premise.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will meet the family members of 21 August victims, injured persons and host an Iftar Party for them at her official residence Gonobhaban in the capital on Sunday afternoon.
Awami League will also organise a discussion meeting at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at  3 pm where Awami League president and  prime minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to be present as the chief guest.
Senior presidium member of the party and deputy leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and general secretary Syed Ahsraful Islam will respectively preside over and conduct the discussion.
Awami League general secretary Syed Ahsraful Islam in a message has urged party leaders , activists and well wishers to observe the 21 August Grenade Attack with due solemnity.
Meanwhile, after seven long years, the trial of the accused in the grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004, is all set to begin. On August 16, a Dhaka court  directed that case documents be sent to the second additional sessions judge’s court for the trial. Prosecution lawyers expect the trial to take place from next month.
Earlier, the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court (CMM’s) had received a copy of a newspaper advertisement, asking BNP senior vice-chairman, Tarique Rahman, and 11 other fugitives who are accused in the case, to appear before the court in seven days. The advertisement was published in two Bengali dailies – Amader Shomoy and Shamokal – on August 2. The CMM’s court had transferred the case after completing its proceedings. The second additional sessions judge’s court will now formally start the trial, showing Tarique as a fugitive.
On July 3, The CMM’s court issued arrest warrants against Tarique and 17 others, hours after submission of supplementary chargesheet in the case. Of the accused, three former police chiefs and as many former officers of the Criminal Investigation Department later surrendered before the court.
Another court dealing with the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act on August 11 also ordered that notices be published in newspapers asking Tarique and 11 others to appear before it. The court set August 25 as the date for the next hearing.
The grenade attack on the Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004, killed 24 AL activists, including its front-ranking leader Ivy Rahman, while injuring a large number of other partymen. AL chief Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack.
Two cases were filed in connection with the blasts – one under the Explosive Substances Act and the other for killing people. On June 12, 2008, the CID submitted a chargesheet accusing 22 people. On August 3, 2009, a Dhaka court ordered further probe as the investigation had failed to identify the masterminds behind the attack. After 14 extensions, the CID submitted the supplementary chargesheet accusing 30 new persons. According to the chargesheet, 12 militants had taken part in the grenade attack. Of them, Mufti Ahsan Ullah Kajol and Mufti Moyeen Uddin Sheikh had been made commanders of two groups. They had previously visited the spot to take note of probable escape routes.
As per the plan, the militants assembled at the rented residence of Mufti Hannan at Merul Badda around 10 a.m. on August 21. They were Kajol, Zandal, Anisul Mursalin, his brother Mohibul Muttakin, Maulana Abu Bakr, Shahadat Ullah Jewel, Uzzal, alias Ratan, Masud, Abul Kalam Azad Bulbul, Iqbal, Jahangir Alam, Mohibul, alias Ovi, Rafiqul Islam Sabuj, Khalil, Shuvo, alias Toufiq, Arif Hasan Sumon, Babu, Ferdous and Maulana Liton, alias Jobaer, alias Delwar.
HuJI leaders Mufti Hannan, Maulana Abu Sayeed Jafar, Jahangir Alam, alias Jahangir Badar and Abu Taher also attended the meeting.
At one stage, Kajol and Jafar proposed that bearded militants should not be included in the group of assailants. Accordingly, 12 attackers were selected from the group. With 15 grenades in their possession, the militants divided themselves into three groups. The main attacking group, consisting of Zandal, Kajol, Bulbul and Liton, took up position at the south-western end of the dais. With Sabuj, Jahangir Alam, Masud and Uzzal, the second group positioned themselves on the western side of the dais, while the third group, comprising Muttakin, Mursalin, Arif Hasan and Iqbal, waited on the north-western side. Apart from the 12 attackers, Abu Bakr, Jewel, Khalil, Shuvo, Babu, Ferdous and some others took up position at the Golap Shah shrine.
Mufti Hannan, in his statement, said the then deputy minister, Abdus Salam Pintu, had sent six more militants, headed by some Laden, to Golap Shah shrine to assist the attackers in case of any emergency. But the CID could not identify those six militants.
Immediately after the address of Sheikh Hasina, Zandal threw the first grenade towards her. The militants then hurled grenades from their respective positions. Though Bulbul was supposed to throw the second grenade, he fell onto the ground as the crowd had started running for shelter. He left the grenade on the spot without opening the safety-pin.
In his statement, Jahangir Alam said that though he had hurled one of the grenades towards the audience, he became frightened at the end. He left the remaining grenade in the Gulistan Hawkers’ market. Bulbul, in his confession, said he had taken shelter at his village home at Shailkupa in Jhenaidah on the same night. Arif Hasan said that after hurling two grenades he went to the New Market area and met Maulana Tajuddin. Taking Tk. 8,000 from Tajuddin, Arif went to Rajshahi and stayed at the Abdul Latif Hostel.
After the attack, Ahsan Ullah Kajol told Mufti Hannan over phone that their operation was successful. They assumed that Sheikh Hasina was killed in the attack. According to the chargesheet, Mufti Hannan, Kajol and Abu Taher held a meeting at the HuJI office near the Mohammmadpur Super Market on August 18, 2004.
On August 19, Taher, Kajol, Zandal and Pintu held a meeting at Masjid-e Akbar near the Mirpur-1 water tank. On August 20, Zandal and Kajol went to Pintu’s residence around 11 a.m. Pintu and Tajuddin gave them 15 grenades and Tk. 20,000 in cash.
A total of 52 people have been made accused in the supplementary chargesheet. Of them, 19 are absconding, while 32 are behind bars. Ariful Islam Arif, a Dhaka City ward councillor, is on bail. The government may seek the help of Interpol to arrest the fugitives, sources said.


Courtesy of The Independent

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