Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina today called Zia family as killer family for its direct link to gruesome killings like August-15, 1975 and August-21, 2004, saying the killers won’t be allowed to reign over Bangladesh anymore.
“Zia family means a killer family. The killers will not be allowed to reign over Bangladesh anymore,” she said.
The prime minister said this while presiding over a discussion organised by the AL at its Bangabandhu Avenue central office here marking the 19th anniversary of the heinous grenade attacks on the party’s anti-terrorism rally on August 21, 2004.
She also stressed the need for quick implementation of the verdict in the August 21, 2004 grenade attack cases in which 22 Awami League (AL) leaders and workers were killed and over 1000 others were injured, 500 of them seriously.
She continued that the trial in the August 21 grenade attack cases has already been completed and its verdict has also been delivered.
“The verdict should be implemented quickly,” she said, adding that some of the killers are now in jails while the mastermind of the heinous attacks Tarique Rahman is now abroad.
Tarique went abroad giving a bond (of not doing politics) with stealing thousands crore money and is now talking against the country using the facilities of Digital Bangladesh made by her government, she said.
“The people of Bangladesh will not spare him (Tarique),” she said, adding, “If he has any courage, then he comes back to Bangladesh”.
The premier said the BNP-Jamaat clique had tried to erase the name of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his Historic March 7 Speech, Joy Bangla Slogan and the spirit of the Liberation War.
“But, they (BNP) could not root out the spirit of the Liberation War. The people now can know the true history of the war,” she said.
Despite the BNP-Jamaat tried to kill her several times, the people of the country voted her party to power time and again to serve them, Sheikh Hasina said.
The prime minister alerted the countrymen against the killers so they never can torture and kill the people through arson terrorism and inhuman repression.
“Be alert as the killers, miscreants, arms smugglers, money launders and bribe takers can not play ducks and drakes with the fate of the people,” she said, calling upon them to show hatred to the killers.
The prime minister reiterated her commitment to work for changing the fate of the people by giving them an improved and decent life as the almighty Allah saved her from many attacks on her life since her return to the country in 1981.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has turned around due to massive development works of her government and got global honour, she said, “We are making a commitment today that Bangladesh will march ahead with dignity.”
Earlier, the prime minister paid homage to the martyrs of the August 21 grenade attacks by placing wreath at the altar built in memory of the martyrs in front of the party’s central office at Bangabandhu Avenue here. Then, flanked by senior leaders of AL, Sheikh Hasina paid homage to the martyrs by placing another wreath there on behalf of her party.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, MP, delivered the address of welcome while Publicity and Publication Secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, MP, moderated the discussion.
At the outset of the meeting, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the martyrs of the August 21 grenade attack and the martyrs of the August 15 carnage.
The prime minister said the gruesome grenade attacks was carried out in a Awami League rally against militant activities across the country, including an attack on the then British high commissioner at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) in Sylhet.
Recalling the terrible grenade attack, Sheikh Hasina, who was the leader of the opposition in parliament at that time, said a total of 13 ARGES grenades, which are usually used in the battlefield, were hurled in the AL rally one after another for killing her and making the party bankrupt in leadership.
Twenty four AL leaders and workers including Ivy Rahman were killed and over 1000 were injured, 500 of them critically, in the grenade attacks, she said, adding that she was saved by the party leaders and activists including Mohammad Hanif by creating a human shield.
The prime minister said Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman were behind the attack as they paved the way for the killers to flee and destroyed all the evidences.
Mentioning that two grenades were found unexploded— one on the spot while another one in Ramna, she said both of the grenades even were destroyed.
“The BNP government sacked an army officer who wanted to keep an unexploded grenade as evidence … it means that they did not want to keep a single evidence of the attack,” she said.
Immediately after the attack, the then BNP’s Dhaka City Corporation Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka washed away the place of occurrence to destroy the evidence, Sheikh Hasina said.
The prime minister said after the attack, police lobbed tear gas canisters and resorted to lathi (baton) charge on AL leaders and workers instead of rescuing the dead and the injured persons to give scope to the attackers to flee without trouble.
She said, “Why Khaleda obstructed police (to play due role) and didn’t take any initiative to protect evidence of the attack? What does it prove? There is no doubt that Khaleda, Tarique and their men were completely involved in this grenade attack. It was also revealed in the investigation.”
To this context, she recalled the remarks of Khaleda Zia that Sheikh Hasina would not be the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, even would never be an opposition leader and the Awami League would never be in power in 100 years.
She questioned, “Why Khaleda Zia made the remarks, if she was not involved in the plot (of carrying out the grenade attacks on AL rally)?”
The prime minister said she was also attacked with bullets when she was taken to her car to drive away to a safer place where Mahbub (Sheikh Hasina’s bodyguard) was killed and one bullet hit her car.
The most painful thing was that no pro-BNP physicians were present in the hospitals particularly in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital to treat the injured people, she added.
She said Ziaur Rahman was also directly involved in the killings of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members on August 15 in 1975 and in the killings of four national leaders in Jail on November 3, 1975.
The prime minister said the BNP had hired a FBI officer to kill her only son Sajeeb Wazed Joy after kidnap (in the USA) and Shafiqur Rahman and Mahmudur Rahman were behind the plot which had come out in a US court verdict in a corruption case filed against the FBI officer.
“They (BNP) only know the politics of killings and how to destroy a political party and a family. They (Zia and Khaleda) have killed thousands of Awami League leaders and workers across the country in a planned way,” she said.
Brushing aside the people who were hired by the BNP-Jamaat clique for talking about the human rights situation in Bangladesh, she questioned: “Why were we deprived from getting justice for 32 years after assassination of our father, mother and brothers?”
She continued Zia even did not allow them to enter Dhanmondi-32 house, where the Father of the Nation resided before the assassination, to offer prayers for seeking peace of the departed souls.
The AL President also prayed for eternal peace of the souls of those embraced martyrdom in the August 21, 2004 grenade attack.