attack probe set to fizzle out
The probe into
the August 21 assassination attempt on Awami League president
Sheikh Hasina appears to be on its way to fizzling out as
local investigators shift their focus on something else. The
repeated visits by Interpol and FBI experts and the formation
of a high-powered judicial probe commission as well as a declaration
of a Tk 1 crore reward for information leading to the nabbing
of the culprits yielded no result. Although results of the
Interpol and the FBI experts are yet to fall in the hands
of the investigators, the hope for solving the case seems
faint. On September 20, an investigator who wanted to remain
anonymous said to a Daily Star reporter that it is
impossible for them to get any lead and that the mystery would
remain unresolved until witnesses identified the attackers
or unless anyone admitted to their role in the attack.
investigator did not even care for preserving the evidence
of the frightful incident, neither did they provide the international
experts with enough evidence and information. The most repeated
reply from them is that the "probe is on and nothing
can be disclosed at this stage." But the fact remains
that not a single perpetrator was arrested in connection to
the grenade attack.
the time the foreign experts were engaged in collecting evidence
in Dhaka, the local investigating agencies kept them cordoned
off and never let the press to find out anything about the
on-going investigation. The four who were arrested were an
effort on the part of the investigators to give semblence
of progress in the investigation, but in reality they have
no connection whatsoever to the attack.
is interesting to note that the two grenades -- one found
near the spot and the other in the adjacent Gulistan Hawkers'
Market -- were detonated by the army explosive experts. That
too was done at the dead of night. The army expert collected
two other bombs the day after the attack -- one from the same
market and another from the Dhaka Central Jail. These unexploded
grenades as well as the exploded ones were crucial evidence
for the investigators. Yet the authorities did not even save
them as evidence let alone pursue an effective investigation
on the source of the grenades as well as who could have handled
them. As with the grenades, the authorities quickly buried
two of the victims at Azimpur Graveyard on August 22 night
although unclaimed bodies are supposed to be kept at the mortuary
for at least 72 hours for identification.
the judicial probe, the commission failed to submit its report
by September 11 and were given 21 more days. It so far has
recorded deposition of 117 people including DB, SB and CID
men and the policemen who were present at the rally. They
failed to collect deposition of DGFI and NSI men, as they
are yet to get the list. Meanwhile, the Tk. 1 crore bounty
did not prompt a single person to come forward with any information
and the press is in the dark as from the Home Minister to
the investigating officers of different agencies, refrained
from commenting on the recent developments, if any.
Relationship Back on Track
After an arduous roller coaster ride, Bangladesh-India relationship,
it seems, is back on track again. The characteristic love-hate
relationship between two South Asian neighbours turned markedly
sour when Bangladeshi Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan lambasted
India for "unfair trade". "If the larger neighbour
of Bangladesh continues to blame it for things across the
spectrum, future bilateral discussions would be at jeopardy,"
a belligerent Morshed told an audience of young journalists
in Dhaka when Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Veena
Sikri looked on.
angrily reacted to Morshed's comment; Shyam Saran, Indian
foreign secretary summoned Bangladeshi high commissioner to
India Hemayetuddin to the External Affairs Ministry (EAM)
and asked him to convey Delhi's dismay over Morshed's comment.
"India has always looked upon Bangladesh as a close friend
and valued partner. At a recent high-level interactions conducted
in a friendly atmosphere, he reiterated their desire to take
the bilateral relationship further," a statement by the
words, however, could not damage the home secretary level
talks that ended last Sunday. Instead of accepting Indian
proposal of joint security operations across the borders,
both the countries agreed to co-ordinated patrols in their
own territories by their respective border guards.
in its turn, tabled a three-point proposal to implement the
1974 Land Boundary Agreement signed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
and Indiira Gandhi. Indian side failed to give any specific
detail of 195 insurgent camps, which, according to the Indian
claim, had been operating on Bangladeshi soil. "We exchanged
our positions and explained our positions," Indian home
secretary said at a joint-press conference held after the
three-day meeting. Dhaka, however, agreed to grant double
entry and exit visas to Indian citizens.
agreed to sit together again next January.
Wedding Party Tragedy
A gruesome accident took away the lives of a number of innocent
people, mostly women and children, once again, owing to the
carelessness of the police. In the early hours of September
17, a head-on collision between a wedding party bus and a
speeding truck killed 26 people, injuring 56 others, some
of them very critical. About 80 wedding guests, on the bus
to Anwara from Chitagong town, slammed into a truck at a sharp
turn in Charpatharghata at about 12:30 am.
and local people blamed the accident on the police who seemingly
chased the truck to the accident, sending it running full-pelt
on Chittagong-Cox's Bazaar Road. Azizul Haq, the only survivor
from the truck, said that the truck coming from Cox's Bazaar
was to unload logs at a timber shop. As they reached Patiya
College Road, some police personnel stopped the truck and
the log owner, Kamal Pasha, who was following them on a motor
cycle, handed over 'something' to the policemen before signalling
them to go ahead. As the truck started moving again with Kamal
Pasha following, the police officers suddenly began chasing
it. Meanwhile, another witness, preferring anonymity, alleged
that some policemen appeared on the scene right after the
accident and removed the number plate from the truck. However,
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Karnaphuli Police Station Md. Harun
told The Daily Star that they arrived there less
than half an hour after the accident but did not find any
number plate on the truck.
people, including the drivers and helpers of both vehicles,
died instantly and six died on their way to hospital. The
rest bled to death before or after their names could be registered
with Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH), triggering
fears of more casualties. The wedding guests were returning
home from an evening marriage ceremony of Mohammad Iqbal,
a mason, in Dhanialapara in Double Mooring.
from the accident are still reeling from their ghastly experience.
A shocked silence reigned when some of the injured at Chittagong
Medical College Hospital (CMCH) narrated the incident.
40, grimacing in pain on the floor of the neuro-surgery ward,
was in no condition to speak. Four of her five sons injured
in the accident were undergoing treatment at the same ward.
But she was yet to know that her husband and son had died.
was sitting in the back seat and jumped out of the bus through
an window moments after the collision," said Shahidul
Islam, the eight-year-old son of Noorjahan, to The Daily
Begum, 35, wife of Liakat Hossain, a Bangladeshi expatriate
in Dubai, narrowly survived the crash but lost teenage sister-in-law
(Liakat's sister) Sahila Akhtar and her two children were
critically injured. Describing the nightmare, she added,"I
was virtually buried under 30 to 40 injured or dead passengers.
I could hardly breathe. After a few minutes, I pushed through
CMCH director told The Daily Star that there was
sufficient stock of blood and medicines and all physicians
and other hospital staff were putting in all efforts to treat
the injured. "We upgraded our treatment facility as part
of a disaster management plan after the August 21 grenade
attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka. We are capable of
treating about 200 patients at a time," Dr Khan said.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004