Calling for exemplary punishment of the “real perpetrators” of the August 21 grenade attack incident, BNP alleged that the government is using the case as a political weapon.
While speaking at a press conference on Monday, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir urged the Awami League government to rethink about the ‘poisonous’ consequences of using August 21 grenade attack case for suppressing its opponents.
“As in the past, we still condemn and protest the brutal incident of August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in 2004. We want the trial and exemplary punishment of the real perpetrators of the attack to stop the recurrence of such a ruthless incident,” he said.
He added that the government clear efforts to unfairly imperil the top BNP leaders and BNP using police, detectives, investigation officer and judiciary by cashing in on the incident can in no way be acceptable in a civilised society.
Amid Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s comments involving BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and acting chairman Tarique Rahman with the August 21 incident, BNP arranged the press meet at its Nayapaltan central office.
Refuting the ruling party’s allegations against Khaleda and Tarique, Fakhrul accused the government of trying to use the issue as a weapon to suppress and weaken its main political opponents.
Fakhrul added that the government carried out the investigation into the incident by a party leader and retired police officer, Abdul Kahar Akand, with a political motive.
He warned that the unlawful conviction of top BNP leaders on false charges will make people aggrieved further which will only create a new problem.
The BNP leader added that the party thinks the peaceful solution to the current ‘political crisis’ is very essential ahead of the national election in the interest of the country.
“Our (BNP) government had taken various legal steps, including the arrest of suspected attackers, after the grenade attack in 2004, but the case took a different turn when Awami League formed the government in 2009,” he said.
Fakhrul mentioned that the fifth investigation officer, Fazlul Kabir, had said that PM Sheikh Hasina did not bring any allegation against Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman.
The BNP leader mentioned that, in an interview with late Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar in September 2004, the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina said ‘Bangladesh Army’ was involved in the grenade attack incident.
“But neither any court nor any investigation officer asked her anytime about the basis of her such allegation,” he added.
The BNP leader said though PM Sheikh Hasina was the No 2 witness in the case, she did not turn up in the court to make her deposition.
He said Tarique Rahman’s name was not there in the chargesheet submitted accusing 22 people by Fazlul Kabir on August 22, 2007.
Fakhrul said ‘controversial and retired police officer’ Abdul Kahar Akand later submitted a supplementary chargesheet accusing Tarique and 30 others. “The basis of the allegation against Tarique was the confessional statement of Mufti Hannan taken from him after keeping him on remand for 410 days.”
BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Nazrul Islam Khan were, among others, present.