Vol. 4 Num 348 Sat. May 22, 2004  
Front Page

Bomb attack condemned

Yesterday's bomb attack on a congregation of worshippers including the new British envoy to Bangladesh at a Sylhet shrine drew widespread condemnation and expression of horror both from home and abroad.

President Professor Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were among the first dignitaries who reacted with deep shock immediately after the incident took place.

Dhaka expressed its 'deepest shock and anger' at the hurling of a bomb at worshippers at the gate of Hazrat Shahjalal's shrine after the Juma prayers that killed two devotees and injured British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Sylhet Abul Hossain and a score of others.

The foreign ministry in a statement said the government had all along condemned such mindless acts of violence and was determined to nab the culprits and bring them to justice.

All medical assistance was being provided to the British high commissioner and others injured in the ambush, it added.

The high commissioner was brought to Dhaka later in the day for better treatment by an airforce helicopter. "His injury is not critical and he is also out of danger," the foreign office statement said.

President Iajuddin Ahmed expressed intense sorrow at the incident and wished early recovery of the high commissioner, the DC and others injured. He prayed for

salvation of the departed souls and conveyed sympathy to their bereaved family members.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia expressed shock at the attack and conveyed her personal deep sympathy to the British envoy and others injured. Denouncing the outrage committed at such a sacred place, she asked the law enforcers and others concerned to hunt down the culprits and take stern action against them.

Khaleda directed all concerned to ensure proper treatment of Choudhury and others injured. The premier said she was constantly inquiring about the condition of the high commissioner and monitoring the situation.

Awami League President Shiekh Hasina said, "The bomb attack is not an isolated incident but a pre-planned one."

She alleged that communal forces harboured by the government were responsible for the violence and demanded immediate and impartial investigation of the attack..

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw expressed deep shock at the news and extended sympathies to all the victims and their families. "Details of exactly what happened and the nature of injuries are not clear," he said in a statement shortly after the incident, adding, "We are grateful for the support we are receiving from the Bangladeshi authorities."

Sir Michael Jay, permanent secretary of British Foreign Office, telephoned Foreign Secretary Shamser Mobin Chowdhury yesterday expressing the deepest sorrow for those killed and injured in the bomb blast. Sir Michael also expressed gratitude to Bangladesh government for its prompt action providing appropriate medical assistance to Choudhury.

Former president and Chairman of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) Professor AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury said the incident proved the government's failure in ensuring security for the diplomats. He demanded immediate punishment of the attackers and proper security arrangements for all foreign citizens residing in Bangladesh.

Finance Minister Saifur Rahman in a message from Singapore strongly condemned the bomb blast and said legal measures would be taken against those involved in it after identifying them. He wished early recovery of the injured including the British high commissioner, prayed for peace of the departed souls and sympathised with the members of their bereaved families.

BNP Secretary General and LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan condemned the attack terming it as a heinous and barbaric act, "Those involved in carrying out the blast are barbaric, killers and enemy of the country and its people. They have staged this heinous act to tarnish the country's image abroad."

Bhuiyan said the culprits would be identified and punished, and made a strong plea to the people to help uncover and arrest the perpetrators of the terrible act.

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar and PM's Political Secretary-1 Harris Chowdhury yesterday talked with the injured high commissioner over phone during his treatment at a Sylhet hospital.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President Hasanul Hoque Inu and General Secretary Syed Zafar Sajjad condemned the attack and blamed communal forces for it. They demanded a proper probe into the foul play.

Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) also condemned the attack and demanded punishment of its perpetrators. They said incidents of bomb attack were occurring time and again as the government failed to bring the previous attackers to book.

Among other organisations who condemned the incident and demanded punishment of the attackers are Sylhet Division Development Action Council, Jatiya Oikya Mancha, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rob), Jatiya Party (Monju), Sommilita Samajik Andolon and Bangladesh Chhatra League.