Barbaric Grenade Attack of 21st August

Barbaric Grenade Attack of 21st August is an article by Dr. Md. Fazlur Rahman and it is the author’s own opinion and point of view. This has nothing to do with the editorial policy or the opinion of the editorial body of Eurobangla Times.

1st episode 

Dr. Md. Fazlur Rahman : (1) It is obvious that the 21st August, 2004 is one of the darkest days in the history of Bangladesh. On that fateful date extremely terrorist attack has been taken place on an anti-terrorism pre-rally meeting organised by the Awami League. After the brutal and gruesome assassination of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, August 21 grenade attack is considered as the state sponsored most heinous and horrible incident of Bangladesh.

(2) The learned judge of the Speedy Trial Tribunal Mr. Shahed Nuruddinhas also observed in his prolonged, illustrative and illuminatingjudgment passed on 10th October, 2018 that Tarique Rahman is the mastermind of the devilishgrenade attack. After the pronouncement of much expected and long awaited grenade attack case, it is now well proved and well established that the elder son Tarique Rahman of the then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and the chief of infamous Hawa Bhaban was the planner, pioneer and main patroniser of that grisliest grenade attack.

(3) It is to be mentionable here that the day before August 21, 2004 Dhaka City Awami League leaders had an informal meeting with party chief Sheikh Hasina for her directives on the next day’s rally about the programme of anti terrorism. In view of the decision of that meeting the venue of their next meeting has been firstly settled at Muktangan adjoining of Zero Point (Nur Hossain Chattar). But the then BNP-Jamat Government did not give permission to hold that meeting in that place. As a result the venue had been shifted in front of the Awami League Central office at Bangabandhu Avenue.

(4) It is really very much painful that the defeated forces of the 1971 liberation war relentlessly continued to annihilate its spirit till today in various ways. They killed the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members to tarnish and undermine the image of the country at home and abroad as well as impede the country’s socio-economic development in all respects. It is also a matter of fact that after the barbaric assassination of Bangabandhu, the then self declaredPresident Khandakar Mushtaq Ahmed had promulgated the ill-reputedIndemnity Ordinance on 26th September, 1975.

(5) Later onviolating all the norms and ethics of a civilised state the conspirators have killed the four national leaders inside the Dhaka Central Jail on 03-11-1975 in a pre-planned way to make the nation leaderless. Afterwards in collaboration with the anti-liberation quarter the then military dictator Major General Ziaur Rahman had purposely legitimised and wilfully incorporated the above stated notorious and highly controversial Indemnity Ordinance as the part of our constitution with the help of Fifth Amendment on 6th April, 1979 [N.B. Appendix VII of the Constitution of Bangladesh]. It is to be noted down here that, the Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act, 1979 has been declared illegal, void and non-est by the Supreme Court (Civil Petition for Leave to Appeal No. 1044 – 1045/2009).

(6) It is crystal clear to all that in a follow up to the deep-rooted conspiracy the frightful grenade attack was carried out on 21st August, 2004 to kill the then leader of the opposition in the parliament and the party president Sheikh Hasina in furtherance of the barbaric killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The killers had also pre-meditated ill motive and mala fide intention to make the Awami League leaderless in future by killing the senior leaders.

(7) It is known to all that the fateful occurrence of grisliest grenade attack has taken place on 21-08-2004, Saturday just at 5:22PM. Unlike now Saturday was not a weekly holiday at that time. So officials and employees of public and private offices started to leave their offices at secretariat and other institutions as usually. All on a sudden a series of grenade attack were launched on a rally of the then main opposition Awami League in front of their party’s central office at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital.

(8) Grenades were charged one by one towards the end of Hasina’s speech as she stood on the makeshift stage on an open truck. Moments after the fierce grenade attack on Awami League,black smoke and fume were billowing from the scene with big bangs. Frightened people there started running to take shelter in safe places. A few people rushed to help the injured dazed and numb in pools of blood and gore. Number of dead bodies and critically wounded several persons were scattered on the spot.

(9) It is a matter of fact that many of the people of that gathering did not know exactly what has happened. But the reality is that some of the injured lay on the street, bleeding profusely, while some groaned sitting on congealed blood and some motionless bodies were left scattered. A number of bodies were found piled in the gathering. At the same time some of the worst victims were found groaning in pain. The entire scene was very much pathetic and heart breaking.

(10) It is undeniable that Awami League president and the then leader of the opposition in the parliament was the prime target of that attack. Side by side it is also a matter of fact that the aforesaid attack was not just an attack. It was a pre conceived organised attack and attempt to eliminate the main opposition from the politics. The attack cost as many as 18 people dead on the spot. Among them Hasina’s bodyguard Md. Mahbubur Rahman died on the spot.But surprising enough that by the grace of almighty Allah Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the death.But one of her ears was affected badly.

(11) It is a matter of regret that a total of 24 people including women’s wing ofAwami League President Ivy Rahman were killed in the incident and more than 500 others injured. The attack was carried out in a broad daylight at 5:22 PM just after Sheikh Hasina finished her address in a crowd of around 50,000 people from a truck. The attack targeted her and the other top leaders of the party. As Hasina finished her speech a total of 13 Argesgrenades, which are commonly used in battlefields were thrown into the crowd from the roof tops of nearby buildings.

(12) It is evident that at the time of above noted pre-arranged brutal attack Hasina’s security personnel, number of party leaders and activists have jointly and instantly created a human shield risking their lives and saved Hasina. Number of senior leaders have promptly encircled her by making human shield within a moment. retired Squadron Leader Abdullah Al Mamun and retired Major Shoeb Md. Tariqullahwho were in charge of Hasina’s security got her off the truck and put her inside the bullet proof Mercedes-Benz car. Both of the security personnel of Hasina carry scores of grenade splinters in their bodies to this day indeed.

(13) Sheikh Hasina and other leaders delivered their speech standing behind a table used as the podium at right end of the truck. Hasina’s bullet proof Mercedes Benz car stood within a few yards of the step at the back of the truck. Sheikh Hasina had almost finished her speech as she was flanked by the number of dedicatedAwami League leaders including Mohammad Hanif,Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and others. By ignoring the threat of their lives all of them have combinedly and unitedly escaped Sheikh Hasina from the pre-planned and deep rooted terrorist attack.

(14) Among the above mentioned all the leaders and saviourssecurity personnel Mamun sat beside the table used as the podium during the entire time the Awami League leaders spoke. Retired Major Shoeb stood at the bottom rung of the step while retired Major General Tarek Ahmed Siddique stood beside the car. At that time one after another explosions have been taken place. As a result black smoke engulfed the entire area instantly. At that time Mamun and Mohammad Hanif flanked Hasina. Hanif tried to make her sit but she had refused to do so. This is why Hanif had shoved Hasina’s head underneath the truck.

(15) At that time 3 (three) more grenades exploded around the truck. Among those a grenade hit the back of the truck, bounced and exploded beside the truck. That explosion leaked the oil tank of the truck. In the mean time the Awami League leaders, activists and security personnel created a human shield around Sheikh Hasina. Mamun, Mohammad Hanif, Maya and Hasina’s cousin Nazibuddin Ahmed surrounded her tightly. Subsequently they had put Hasina on the left seat at the front of the car. But Hasina never wanted to leave the spot keeping her supporters and followers injured there.

  Dr. Md. Fazlur Rahman, Senior District and Sessions Judge (Retired), Writer and Columnist


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