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14 October, 2018 10:40:34 AM

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Justice delayed but not denied

This trial lasted 14 years. It was a long trial and many people feared that if Awami League was not in power this trial would not have taken place and these criminals including Tarique Rahman could come back and capture the power again to start a reign of terror
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury
Justice delayed but not denied

There is a proverb-Justice delayed is justice denied. But in the case of the trial on the grenade attack of 21st August (2004), though the verdict was delayed, justice has finally been done.

A barbaric grenade attack in an Awami League meeting where Sheikh Hasina was present along with other important leaders took place during BNP's regime. The BNP- government did not take any action against this heinous crime but tried to protect the criminals, because most of them are top most leaders of BNP and Jamaat and the ring leader was Tareq Rahman, the son of the-then Prime Minister. If BNP and Jamaat were still in power there would have been no trial or punishment for these killers. After facing tremendous obstacles and conspiracies Hasina government have brought the criminals to trial and they are now going to be punished. Some of them are absconding, but ultimately they will not be able to avoid the punishment.
In this verdict 19 people including Lutfuzzaman Babar, the state minister of home and Abdus Salam Pintu, the state minister of education of the-then Khaleda government were given the death penalty. Another 19 accused including Tareq Rahman, Haris Chowdhury, the political secretary of the-then Prime Minister got life sentence. 11 people were sentenced to jail for various terms. The mastermind of this heinous crime Tareq Rahman was tried in absentia, but government is trying their best to bring this man back in the country, who is convicted not only in this case but other multiple cases on serious charges. After this verdict was delivered on 10th October, a large number of people of Bangladesh welcomed it with reservation.

The opinion expressed in social media shows that Tareq Rahman escaped the death sentence while his accomplices were not spared from it. So some people are not satisfied with the verdict. But a large section are of the opinion that this verdict will help the government bring back Tareq Rahman in Bangladesh so that he cannot escape the punishment. Now he is in Britain but could not be repatriated in Bangladesh, as the British government was saying that they could not send anybody to their homeland if s/he is under death sentence. Now it will be easy for the British government to send him to his country to face the consequences of his misdeeds as he has now got life sentence and not death sentence.

This trial lasted 14 years. It was a long trial and many people feared that if Awami League was not in power this trial would not have taken place and these criminals including Tareq Rahman could come back and capture the power again to start a reign of terror. So, we can say that it is a historic trial and a continuation of the trials of the killers of Bangabandhu and the trials of the war criminals of 71. History will remember Sheikh Hasina for this great achievement. What was done under her regime was unthinkable even a few years ago. Nobody thought that after long 40 years it would be possible to bring the killers of Bangabandhu and the war criminals of 71 to justice. Now the remaining criminals responsible for a vicious grenade attack on a peaceful gathering in broad daylight to kill Sheikh Hasina and the leaders of Awami League are tried and sentenced.

This is a great solace for a nation and their conscience will now be guilt free. If these killers and traitors were not punished they would have the opportunity to destroy the very foundation of the country's independence and democracy. Hasina, taking a great risk on her life has fulfilled her promise to the nation that the country will be freed from the enemies of the people and its advance towards democracy will be unabated. The national tragedy of 1975 (the killings of 15th August) and the grenade attack of 21st August 2004 had the same aim and objective. The aim of the killings of 15th August was to destroy the foundation of independence and make the country a satellite of Pakistan. The aim of the killings of the 21st August was with the same objective.

The grenades which were used in the attack were brought from Pakistan and some fundamentalist groups including Jamaat was directly involved in the killings under the direction of the hierarchy of BNP. Some of the political observers believe that Khaleda Zia, the-then Prime Minister was aware of the plot. Just before this mass killings she said in a meeting, 'Awami League will never come to power. Sheikh Hasina will never become a Prime Minister again and she will never enter into the parliament'. My suspicion is that she was possibly assured by the plotters that Sheikh Hasina will not survive the planned grenade attack. But Sheikh Hasina miraculously escaped the attack though she lost her many close associates including Ivy Rahman and more than a thousand people were seriously wounded.

Again, after a few years Khaleda Zia was assured that the uprising of the Hefazatis in the Shapla Chattar (roundabout) at Dhaka would overthrow Hasina government violently and depending on that assurance Khaleda Zia gave an ultimatum to Sheikh Hasina to flee the country within 48 hours, saying that they would face severe consequences otherwise. Like the grenade attack, this conspiracy also failed. Despite this long history of violence, conspiracy and killing of Awami League workers, leaders and intellectuals these BNP-Jamaat leaders are now claiming that they are the advocates of real democracy and Awami League is the anti-people and anti-democratic party and their government is autocratic.

A general election is upcoming. A section of our elite class, especially one of their top leaders, Dr. Kamal Hossain, has always claimed that he is a man for the rule of law and good governance. A few years ago he was a 'big uncle' of Sheikh Hasina and a leader of Awami League. He tried to become the President of the republic and Hasina helped him. But he was rejected by the people and took a turn into politics and tried to destroy Sheikh Hasina. He joined the band wagon of those whom he once himself termed as 'enemy of the independence' to fulfil his vengeance against Sheikh Hasina.

The character of this man is curious. He has always claimed that he is an uncompromising supporter of the rule of law. How can he then join hands with a party like BNP whose acting chairman is a convicted murderer? He could have demanded to BNP, ‘First remove your acting chairman Tareq Rahman and place someone there who is not convicted by the higher court and is respectful to the law and order of the country. Then we can join hands with you’. This reminds me of a western film of Hollywood. A convicted bandit was coming to attack a village and seek vengeance after a long time. The villagers saw with fear and amazement that the bandit leader is on the horseback with his associates. Accompanying them on horseback yielding a bloody sword was a man who they had so long known to be a Christian preacher. He was now an accomplice of those bandits. The villagers finally realized that the preacher was actually a bandit under the guise of a priest!

London, Thursday 11 October, 2018

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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