Vol. 5 Num 437 Thu. August 18, 2005  
Front Page

Babar changes statement on attack info

State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar has shifted from his previous statement of having prior intelligence reports about subversive activities and now says that they had no idea about such a countrywide organised attack.

"Today's incident was totally unexpected. None of us had any idea about such an incident," Babar told reporters yesterday afternoon.

But while talking to reporters before noon, Babar had said he had intelligence reports that subversive activities may take place on August 14, 15 and 16. "There was no information (of such an attack) for August 17. The period of time passed away," he said then.

The shift in his statement came at 3:20pm when the minister was briefing reporters at his office about government measures. "We didn't actually know the incident to be such one."

He, however, did not disclose the kind of information he had. "What information we had was about August 15. Every [political] party has some days we consider to be sensitive. All the governments secure such days, it is nothing new."

Asking people not to panic over the incidents, Babar said: "The government assures people that it is fully alert and determined to protect public property and lives."

He asked people to inform the nearest police station or policemen if any bag, packet, container or bundle is found abandoned.

The state minister also asked people to inform law enforcement agencies if they have any information about the operatives.

"The explosions took place in Dhaka and about all districts between 10:30am and 11:30am. Government offices, especially courts and deputy commissioners' offices, were chosen for the explosions," Babar said.

Time devices were used in the exploded bombs and leaflets of recently banned organisation Jama'atul Mujahideen were found at every explosion spot, he said.

"Continuation and consequences prove that the bombs were blasted in a planned way to panic people and create anarchy in the country."

Some miscreants have been arrested red handed and law enforcement agencies have already been instructed to find out and arrest other people involved in the attack as well as those behind the scene, he said.

Asked whether banned Jama'atul Mujaheedin, whose leaflets have been seized from blast areas, are behind the attack, Babar said it is too early to comment, adding: "They may be involved, or there may be some other matters. Many things might have happened.

We're seriously working on it and we've taken the matter seriously."

Asked about his assumption about people behind the attack, he refused to reply, saying, "It is too early to comment."

Asked to comment on the failure of intelligence and security agencies, Babar said: "Don't make me say everything."

The state minister expressed hopes of tracing operatives behind the attack.

A number of check-posts have been increased in the capital and elsewhere. "In an exceptional move, I've even ordered all officers to work on the street," said Babar.

Saying that police have a list of suspected people and are now working on it, he said, "We've taken some other steps which we don't want to disclose."