Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said it was not possible to carry out an attack like that of August 21, 2004 had there been no direct patronage from then BNP-Jamaat government.
“They (BNP-Jamaat govt) thought that I had been killed (in the grenade attack), but when they came to know that I didn’t die they allowed four criminals to flee the country,” she said, reports UNB.
She said the then BNP-Jamaat government assembled the terrorists and militants for carrying out such an attack and gave them a safe passage to flee abroad.
Sheikh Hasina made the allegation while addressing a discussion marking the August 21, 2004 grenade attack.
Awami League organised the event at its Bangabandhu Avenue central office. The Prime Minister attended the event virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
“No one dared to dream that there would be Arges grenade attack (on the rally) attempting to kill in broad daylight,” she said.
Recalling the barbaric carnage, Sheikh Hasina alleged that then Prime Khaleda Zia and her government staged grenade attack as killings is their habit.
She said that Bangabandhu killers Dalim and Rashid were among those criminals while the other two were militant Tajul and one jailer.
After the attack, she said, police lobbed teargas shells and charged batons on AL leaders and workers instead of rescuing the victims.
Hasina said even BNP-Jamaat-backed doctors did not attend the injured AL leaders and activists at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and no patient was allowed to enter Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Medical University.
Referring to some remarks made by Khaleda Zia before the grisly grenade attack and planting of twin bombs – one of 76 kg and another of 84 kg – in Kotalipara, the Prime Minister said, “Before every attack, Khaleda Zia used to say Awami League won’t be able to go to power in 100 years. And right before the grenade attack, she said even Sheikh Hasina would never be the leader of the opposition,” she said.
The then government destroyed the evidence of the gruesome attack while an army officer faced trouble as he wanted to preserve an unexploded grenade used in the attack, she said. “They tried to erase all the evidences of the attack.”
“And all know about a staged drama by the government,” she said pointing to the Joj Mia issue which was later proved false.
The Prime Minister said ruling BNP-Jamaat did not allow AL to discuss the matter in Parliament although many of the injured were MPs and she was the leader of the opposition.
She said that Almighty Allah repeatedly saved her from various types of attacks including the August 15 and August 24 to materialise something that only He knows.
Referring to the ongoing pandemic she said that the government always remains beside the people of the country as it strictly follows the ideology of Father of The Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“Inshallah, we will be able to establish developed and prosperous Golden Bangladesh that was dreamt by the Father of the Nation,” she said.
AL presidium member Matia Chowdhury, general secretary Obaidul Quader, joint secretary Dr. Hassan Mahmud, AL central working committee member Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, organising secretary SM Kamal Hossain, Dhaka South Unit of Awami League president Abu Ahmed Mannafi and Dhaka North Unit of Awami League president Sheikh Bazlur Rahman also spoke at the programme joined by senior leaders of the party.
The barbaric grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally of Awami League on Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on August 21, 2004 during the BNP-Jamaat government aiming to wipe out the AL leadership.
Twenty-four people, including then president of Mohila Awami League and late President Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and over 500 others suffered splinter injuries in the grisly attack and many of them became crippled for life.
Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader, narrowly escaped the attack but sustained hearing impairment due to the impact of the repeated grenade blasts near the truck-dais of the huge public rally. AL men saved her life creating a human shield surrounding her during the attack.