August 22, 2004


Yesterday evening panic spread in Dhaka city as reports of bombing in Awami League rally was coming. There were reports of death and widespread violence. There were fewer vehicles in the street. I was out with my wife waiting in her doctor's chamber. The panic heightened when the doctor informed that she will not be coming because of violence in the street. We hurried home and saw a bit of panicky situation in the street, where there were fewer public transports and a whole lot of people desperate to head home. We eagerly waited for all the TV news to find out what really happened.

It is now confirm that the 13 grenades thrown on a crowded Awami League rally in Gulistan yesterday was in fact an assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina, leader of opposition and former prime minister of Bangladesh. The attack succeeded in killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 300 people including top Awami League (AL) leaders Abdur Razzak, Amir Hossain Amu, Suranjit Sengupta, Ivy Rahman and Kazi Zafarullah. Hasina was targeted by grenades from the nearby high-rise, but escaped with cuts on her hand because the Awami League leaders formed a human shield around her. Her escape was a miracle as all those who shielded her were critically injured and her personal body guard gave his life to save her. That was not enough. The unknown assailants fired seven bullets at the bulletproof Mercedes SUV, in which Hasina was escorted immediately after the blasts. A bullet also punctured the rear wheel of the vehicle and there was a large hole on the rear right side of its window shield. From the look of it it was an pre-planned coordinated attack.

Hell broke loose in the emergency sections of most of the Hospitals & clinics of the city. Although the official reports of the injured is somewhere near 200-300, they are mostly the persons who are admitted in the hospitals. Scores of people who received minor injuries hurried elsewhere as the hospitals could not treat such a huge number of casualties at once.

Now the question is who carried out the attack. Attacks on the Awami League leadership at different public rallies across the country have increased recently as the party continues to have a firm stand against religious radicals. Although Sheikh Hasina & the AL has blamed the government for the attack and asked it to quit, it is more than obvious that this heinous act couldn't be mastermind of any sane person. It is a continuation of the attacks on the British High-Commissioner and the cinema bombings across the country. Eye-witnesses are saying that a mysterious person looked like Islami activist was seen hurrying away from the seen after the blast. It is the failure of BNP government not to achieve some headway in all the previous bombings cases. If these quarters are not stopped, it will not be long when such attacks would be carried out in BNP rallies too. It is clear now that there are some quarters who wants to annihilate all those who are a threat in their efforts to make this country a Taliban-like state. The Awami League is again misdirecting the anger towards the government (because of power hunger) and again resorting to general strikes (Hartals). The BNP supporters are even thinking that it was AL's internal clash (They have wildest of dreams without logic). But the blame game would certainly cheer up the perpetrators as they are being untouched and they are heading for their goal.

The role of BTV: There were special bulletins in all Bengali private TV channels. This was the first headline of BBC World and third in PTV(Pakistan TV). But the state owned BTV carried out the news without any importance. This news was their third headline after the news of prime ministers aid visit, which was of no greater importance. The BTV carries a slogan "BTV talks about the country and the people". I think it should change the slogan to "BTV talks about whoever is in power".


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