Seventeen years ago, in the broad daylight of August 21, Islamist militants, patronised by the then government led by BNP, launched an atrocious grenade attack on a rally of the erstwhile opposition Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka. Indeed, it is the deadliest day in Bangladesh's political history since the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members.
The hellish incident took place when Sheikh Hasina was addressing a rally protesting the Sylhet blasts with a call “to end the rule of the government that inspires bomb attacks.” Sheikh Hasina called for national unity at the rally and urged everyone to raise their voice against growing militancy and terrorism. The irony was that the anti-militancy protesters themselves became victims of the country’s most gruesome militant attack masterminded by then BNP-Jamaat government.
of August 21 grenade attack must get
the punishment they deserve
However, Sheikh Hasina survived the ghastly attack narrowly as supporters and leaders protected her by forming a human shield around her. It is rare for any of the political leaders around the world that his or her followers is receiving grenade splinters on themselves sacrificing their lives. It was a reflection of great love and respect that saved Sheikh Hasina.
The devilish onslaught that left 24 dead and more than 300 injured was carried out in accordance with a plan hatched by some high ranking persons of the then BNP-led government who allegedly conspired to annihilate their political rivals, including their prime target Sheikh Hasina.
It is unfortunate for us as a nation that 19 of the 49 convicts in the August 21 grenade attack cases are still at large. We hope the government will gear up efforts to bring back the fugitive convicts in the August 21 grenade attack cases to execute the verdict against them. We hope the government will devise concrete plans to ensure strict penalty for the perpetrators as it did in terms of bringing war criminals to justice. All the perpetrators of August 21 grenade attack must get the punishment they deserve.