Grenade attack in 2004 was designed to ‘obliterate’ Awami League, says judge

In his landmark verdict on the 2004 grenade attack, Judge Shahed Nuruddin said a conspiracy was underway to obliterate the Awami League, the main opposition party at the time.

Published : 10 Oct 2018, 08:18 AM
Updated : 12 Feb 2020, 04:42 PM

Nuruddin linked the 2004 attack as part of a conspiracy that led to the killings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the four national leaders in 1975.

“The conspiracy did not stop with the killing of Bangabandhu. It continued.”

Homegrown militants in connivance with their foreign peers launched the attack, helped by the then state machinery, the judge said in his verdict on Wednesday. 

Nuruddin sentenced former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and 18 others to death for their roles in the grenade attack that killed 24 people and injured another 500.

Tarique Rahman, son of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia, has been jailed for life along with 18 others.

Tarique Rahman

Lutfozzaman Babar

The judge put forward a question apparently to political leaders — if politics means “heinous attacks” on the opposition.

“It was not a mere attack. It was a hateful attempt to make the then opposition party leaderless.”

The judge suggested that any ruling party follow an open-arm policy toward the opposition party despite all political differences.

The ruling party must make all-out efforts to establish democratic culture in the country, he said.

“Killings for political gains are not the signs of democratic thinking,” Nuruddin said.

“Ordinary people don’t want this type of political practices in their midst.”

The people will turn away from politics if the killings of innocent people and politicians continue, the judge said.

The court, according to him, does not want a repeat of attacks like those on the Awami League rally in Dhaka on Aug 21, 2004, Hazrat Shahjalal’s shrine in Sylhet on May 21 the same year and Pahela Baishakh celebrations in Dhaka on Apr 14, 2001, and the killing of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria in Sylhet on Jan 27, 2005.

He considered 14 issues to deliver the judgment of the case under the Bangladesh Penal Code for killings and attempt to murder.

Sheikh Hasina

Judge Nuruddin reviewed the statement of doctor Pran Gopal Datta, a former VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, on the hearing problems of the then opposition leader and now the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, the prime target of the grenade attack.

He also reviewed whether the ‘Hawa Bhaban’ building at Banani had been the centre of power during the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami government and if Tarique, who is running the BNP from exile now, had held meetings with militant leaders and made the conspiracy there.

The prosecution successfully proved the charges of criminal conspiracy against the accused, the judge concluded.