Vol. 5 Num 241 Fri. January 28, 2005  
Front Page

Kibria, 4 AL men killed in grenade attacks
70 wounded as killers throw 2 grenades on AL rally in Habiganj; Hartal tomorrow

Former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and four other Awami League (AL) activists were killed in a grenade attack on an AL rally at Boidder Bazar in Habiganj yesterday evening.

About 70 others were injured in the grisly attack, similar to the August 21 carnage on Sheikh Hasina's rally in the capital last year that had claimed 23 lives and left several hundred wounded.

The four other dead were identified as Kibria's nephew Shah Manjurul Huda, 40, and AL activists Siddique Ali, 35, and Abdur Rahim, 50, of Bongaon village and Abul Hossain of Shayestaganj.

The AL called a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for tomorrow protesting the attack. It blamed the BNP and the Jammat for the carnage and planned a 'non-stop agitation' after the shutdown.

District unit AL also called for a daylong hartal today in Habiganj.

Immediately after the attack, critically wounded Kibria and Habiganj District AL General Secretary Abu Jahid were rushed to the capital by an ambulance.

Kibria died on the way to Dhaka and doctors at Birdem Hospital declared him dead at about 12:30am, soon after he was taken to the hospital.

Kibria's nephew Shah Manjurul Huda, AL activists Siddique Ali and Abdur Rahim died on the spot. Abul Hossain who was brought to Dhaka along with three others died at Birdem at about 1:00am.

An advisor to the Awami League, Kibria was elected a member of parliament from Habiganj-3 constituency in the 2001 general elections.

In instant protest, people torched a ruling BNP office and at least 15 other establishments, vandalising some of them, in the northeastern district town, 15km off the spot.

Additional police forces were called in to quell the tense situation prevailing in the district.

Habiganj Superintendent of Police Abu Musa Fakhrul Islam said primarily they were suspecting it to be a grenade attack. But an investigation could confirm whether those were grenades, he added.

Kibria went to Habiganj on Wednesday on an organisational tour. His elder brother Shah Shamsul Huda and nephew Shah Manjurul Huda accompanied him.

He spoke as the chief guest at the meeting organised by Laskarpur Union unit of AL.

The namaj-e-janaza of the late AL leader will be held today after Juma prayers at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque. A decision on his burial will be taken on arrival of his son from abroad.

Witnesses said the first grenade was hurled at the end of the rally at Boidder Bazar Primary School playground when Kibria was about to board his car after speaking at the rally.

District AL Joint Secretary Alamgir said the grenade was hurled at Kibria at about 7:05pm. "It was a close call," he said as Kibria sustained serious injuries all over his body.

Former chairman of Habiganj Pourashava Shahid Uddin Chowdhury, a witness to the grisly incident, told newsmen later that when leaders were getting down from the dais after the meeting, the first grenade was thrown at them and then the second one came when they ran for cover.

Hit by splinters, the former finance minister and others fell to the ground. Kibria became unconscious sustaining injuries on different parts of his body with his two legs fatally wounded.

He was first rushed to Habiganj Sadar Hospital where resident medical officer Dr Abdullah gave primary treatment to an unconscious Kibria. After consultation with party President Sheikh Hasina, local leaders decided to send him to Dhaka by an ambulance as they failed to manage a helicopter.

The conditions of district AL Joint Secretary Alamgir, Organising Secretary Rajan Chowdhury and General Secretary of district Awami Ainjibi Parishad advocate Abdul Ahad Faruq were also reported critical. They along with scores of other wounded AL leaders and workers were admitted to Habiganj Sadar Hospital.

At Habiganj Sadar Hospital, where 37 people with splinter injuries were rushed in, was overcrowded with the friends and relations of the victims.

Relatives alleged of lack of proper treatment and absence of doctors at the hospital.

Hearing the news, AL's student, youth and volunteer wings -- Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), Jubo league and Swechchhasebak League -- took out a joint protest procession from the party central office on Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

The protestors later held a rally on the avenue. Swechchhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Debnath, Dhaka City AL Joint Secretary Hazi Selim and BCL President Liakat Sikder addressed the rally, with Jubo League Chairman Jahangir Kabir Nanak in the chair.

At last night's emergency meeting of AL working committee, the opposition party called for a hartal tomorrow and accused the BNP-Jamaat government for the attack.

The meeting, chaired by AL chief Sheikh Hasina, deplored the grenade attack and said it was pre-planned to annihilate the political adversaries.

The main opposition party leaders said the attack on Habiganj public meeting was part of a blueprint to kill its leaders and activists.

The August 21 grenade attack in Dhaka and yesterday's one at Habiganj proved that there was no security of life of the opposition leaders, activists and the people in general, they said.

The AL will also stage demonstrations in the capital this afternoon. The party also sent a delegation led by opposition Chief Whip Abdus Shahid from Dhaka to visit the place of occurrence.

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) and Jatiya Party (Manju) condemned the grenade attack and killing of Kibria and three others.

Related Stories:

arrow power cut before attacks
Witnesses to yesterday's grenade attacks on SAMS Kibria said the killers had switched off power at the rally venue before carrying out the carnage in the twilight.
arrow Wail breaks the news
A shrill wail broke the silence near the Birdem operating theatre (OT), heavy with only the sound of breathing, as the hospital secretary general announced Kibria's death.
arrow Tearful Hasina blames ruling coalition
Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina burst into tears on hearing the news of her long-trusted comrade SAMS Kibria's death last night.
arrow A grisly reminder of unsolved killings
It has the chilling similarity to the August 21 grenade attacks on Sheikh Hasina. The venue is a public rally, the speakers and participants all Awami League workers.
arrow Kibria's life sketch
SAMS Kibria was born on May 1, 1931. He obtained BA Honours in economics from Dhaka University in 1952 and completed MA in the subsequent year.
A dead Kibria is being taken to Birdem at 11.30am.. PHOTO: STAR