Families still cry for justice

August 21, 2014

Aug 21 Grenade Attacks
Families still cry for justice
The ruling Awami League is set to observe today the 10th anniversary of grenade attack on a party rally on August 21, 2004 at Bangbandhu Avenue that killed 24 party leaders and injured scores.
The Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, escaped the attack but the explosions caused her hearing damage. The victims and their families are still crying for justice while two cases filed for the killings and explosion are still pending with a Dhaka court.
The Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 has so far recorded testimonies of only 99 of the 491 prosecution witnesses in the two cases simultaneously.
The prosecution expects that the trial may conclude in one more year.
The chief prosecutor in the cases, Syed Rezaur Rahman, told New Age, ‘The trail got momentum in recent days. If we get cooperation from the defence, we hope the trial proceedings would be completed by August 2015.’
A number of former Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led cabinet members and some militancy suspects are facing the trial.
The defence counsels, however, argued that
the BNP and Jamaat
leaders were implicated in the case on bad political intention.
Defence counsel Parvez Hossain said that most of the prosecution witnesses were either serving or retired government officials.
According to the charge sheets, Hawa Bhaban, the then political office BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s eldest son Tarigue Rahmna, different militant organisations and the then administration had collaborated in planning and staging the grisly blasts.
The course for the investigation into, and the story about, the grenade attack had been changed time and again with the changes in the state power.
On June 9, 2008, during the military-controlled interim regime, the Criminal Investigation Department of police pressed charges against former BNP state minister Abdus Salam Pintu, banned Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami chief Mufti Abdul Hannan and 20 others in the cases.
The court had, however, ordered further investigations in the cases, as the Awami League, after assuming power in 2009, petitioned for the further investigation.
On July 3, 2011, the CID submitted supplementary charge sheets against 30 people including Tareque Rahman, Lutfozzaman Babar, Harris Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed. On March 18, 2012, the court framed charges against the 30.
The Awami League, different organisations backed by the party and other political, socio-cultural and professional organisations have taken elaborate programmes marking the day.
Awami League’s programme will begin with the placing of flowers at the makeshift memorial plaque in front of the party’s central office on Bangabandhu Avenue at 4:00pm.
Hasina accompanied by the party’s central leaders will pay homage to the party colleagues and activists killed in the grenade attacks by placing floral wreaths at the makeshift monument.
After paying tributes, Hasina will meet the families of the grenade attack victims and the party activists who sustained injuries in the attack. The prime minister will also address a discussion on Bangabandhu Avenue.
The Awami League general secretary, Syed Ashraful Islam, in a statement, urged the party
leaders, activists, supporters, well-wishers and leaders of different organisations backed by the party observe the day at all levels in a befitting manner.

-Input from New Age

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