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    Volume 8 Issue 83 | August 21, 2009 |

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A Massacre We must not Forget

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Today is a strange day for a Friday. Although there will be the regular prayers, plus the fact that it is the eve of the holiest month of the year, for Muslims around the world, there will be many families deep in prayer for another reason. It is yet another anniversary of the most gruesome massacres in our history that left 23 AL leaders and workers dead and that maimed over 300 others for life.

Funny how we get used to blood and gore when it happens often enough. And it has happened over and over again. Assassinations are part and parcel of our history that has seen leaders being betrayed by their own people. August seems to be mired with such betrayals. After the chilling events of August 15, people of this nation have become brutalised, a little too numb to feel much as one political leader after another got struck down along with a forgotten number of innocents who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They were murdered by vicious conspiracies that seem to sprout copycats in the future.

After the era of brushfires and random shootings the age of bombs came along bringing with it a greater and more brutal range of devastation and mayhem. The blasts at CPB rally, Udichi blasts, cinema hall blasts, the blasts at Ramna Botomul that made a Pahela Boishakh so bloody, the bomb blast that killed finance minister SAMS Kibria, the August 21 grenade blast in Bangabandhu Avenue and more to follow.

For now let us only concentrate on the tragedy that happened on this very day, a conspiracy that was hatching perhaps at the very moment you are reading this, whoever you are.

The scene of that mayhem that surpassed the terror of the most grisly horror movie is hard to forget, one would think. Who could for instance, not remember the scores of dismembered limbs, the pools of blood, Ivy Rahman 's blank, deathly stare as she sat with both legs shattered, later to die of her wounds like many of her fellow party members. Who can erase that image of hundreds of shoes thrown together like the remnants of a concentration camp?

But forget we did or at least we pretended to, one cannot dwell on such tragedy for too long without feeling a little insane. In any case there were many other tragedies and 'incidents' to distract our attention. During the last government we were fooled into believing that some obscure person called Juj Miah had been responsible as he had apparently given a confessional statement. But the 'investigation' revealed practically nothing, eventhough 64 people were interrogated. Later we found out that these were all lies, the investigation had been tampered with to suit certain political interests.

Now the investigation has taken an about turn and hopefully will lead us closer to the truth, although one need not hold one's breath. A Daily Star investigation (August 1, 2009) says that Kashmir-based militant outfit Asif Reza Commando Force, which works together with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), supplied grenades to LeT Bangladesh chapter leader Moulana Tajuddin for the August 21 attack in 2004 that intended to kill Sheikh Hasina.

LeT leader Indian national Moulana Mansur Ali, detained by Bangladeshi law enforcers gave this information. Another Indian national seems to have handed the grenades to Tajuddin who happens to be the brother of detained former BNP deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu. Fourteen individuals including Pintu are behind bars. The story becomes more complicated as the report reveals that one of the arrested has said that most of the grenade throwers were Afghan war veterans with skills in handling explosives.

But this is hardly the end of the story and many questions have not been answered. We still don't know who the masterminds of this gruesome massacre are. Perhaps the renewed investigation will give us those answers. Hopefully it will not take so long as to make us forget what happened on August 21.


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