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PM Sheikh Hasina blames BNP-Jamaat govt for August 21 carnage

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said that the August 21 grenade attack was carried out with direct patronisation of then BNP-Jammat government to kill her and wipe out the top leadership of her Awami League party 18 years ago.

“Without having any government patronisation, this kind of heinous attack could not have taken place,” the premier said. “The target was to kill me and wipe out the Awami League.”

She was addressing a discussion marking the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on an anti-terrorism rally organised by then opposition Awami League in front of its central office on Bangabandhu Avenue, reports UNB.

The attack left 24 people killed and about 300 injured, but Hasina, then opposition leader, luckily escaped death.

Hasina revealed that Rashid and Dalim, two of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, had returned to Bangladesh and were involved in the plot to kill her and her party’s leadership.

She said that then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia helped the two killers leave the country after the carnage, one of the worst such political violence in the history of Bangladesh.

“This is the reality. Many know that Dalim and Rashid were in Dhaka. I don’t know whether all people are aware of this or not. They have their relatives, you can know that easily,” she said.

She mentioned that when they found out that she did not die in the attack, they fled the country.

“Who brought them here unless the then BNP government had not taken the initiative? They came and they went away,” she said.

She apprehended that more attacks on her are being planned and she knows that she has danger in her every step.

“Killing is the character of BNP and now we have to sit with them and provide them hospitality so that they come to the election. Why? I don’t understand. Are there no other people in Bangladesh?,” she questioned.

Sheikh Hasina, chief of Awami League, said that BNP shed crocodile tears in front of the foreigners at that time so they could cash in some benefits by faking sympathy.

She said the people of Bangladesh must choose now from between the politics of terrorism and the path of development.

“The people will have to decide whether they want to return to the era of terrorism or stay firm on the current path of development,” she said.

Earlier, the prime minister paid tributes to the memory of those killed in the gruesome grenade attack by laying a wreath at the makeshift memorial erected at scene of the carnage.

She shared her pains with the relatives who lost their loved ones and also with those who have been living a painful life with injuries from grenade splinters.

One-minute silence was observed in memory of the victims before offering prayers for the salvation of the departed souls.

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader also spoke at the event.