The nation will recall with hatred the 11th anniversary of the gruesome August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally and mark the day with various programmes in a somber mood on Friday, agency reports. On this day in 2004, the grisly grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally arranged by Awami League at Banbabandhu Avenue in the city during the rule of BNP- Jamaat alliance government.
The main target of the heinous attack was current Prime Minister and then opposition leader and daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina. At least 24 leaders and activists, including Awami League women affairs secretary and wife of late President Zillur Rahman Ivy Rahman, were killed and 300 others injured in the grenade attack. However, Sheikh Hasina fortunately escaped unhurt in the attack but her hearing was affected badly.
At least 13 grenades were thrown from the rooftops of a nearby building soon after Sheikh Hasina had finished her speech at the rally. Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion. In his message, the President said August 21 is a black day in the history of the Bangalee nation and democratic march of Bangladesh.
“The main aim of the attack was to halt the country’s democratic process by making Bangladesh and Awami League leaderless, and establish militancy in the country. But the people of Bangladesh didn’t allow it to happen and wouldn’t do it either in the future,” he said. The President further said, “To make democracy meaningful, tolerance to different opinions is indispensable apart from mutual respect and sympathy. I firmly believe all political parties will play a role from their respective positions in expediting the country’s democratic march.”
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “I hope the people of the country will get united to build a peaceful homeland and maintain the terrorist-free democratic political environment, turning the grief of August 21 into strengthen. “This day I expect that the country will be free from killing, terrorism and militancy through the fair trial of the attackers, plotters, order givers and instigators of August 21 attack,” she added.
Meanwhile, Awami League and its associate bodies have chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day. Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina along with the top party leaders will place wreaths at the makeshift altar in front of the party headquarters at 23 Bangabandhu Avenue around 4:30pm Sheikh Hasina will attend a ‘doa mahfil’ and meet the family members of those killed in the grenade attack on the spot. The Prime Minister will also take part in a discussion there.
AL general secretary and public administration minister Syed Ashraful Islam in a statement urged the leaders and activists of the party to observe the day in a befitting manner.