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Aug 21 Carnage

Grenade attack accused given BNP nomination

BNP has nominated a charge-sheeted accused of the August 21 carnage aimed to assassinate former premier and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina at a rally on Banga-bandhu Avenue in the capital in 2004.

Detained former lawmaker and deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu is one of the 22 charge-sheeted accused in the cases filed in connection with the grenade attack.

BNP yesterday nominated him along with his brother Sultan Salauddin Tuku, senior vice-president of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, for the Tangail-2 constituency as its candidate in the December 29 parliamentary polls.

Party insiders say they apprehend Pintu might not contest the polls due to legal barriers and in that case his brother Tuku would substitute him.

Pintu's two other brothers Moulana Tajuddin and Moulana Liton of outlawed Islamist militant outfit Harkatul Jihad Al Islami (Huji) were also accused along with the terror group's top leader Mufti Hannan in the charge sheet submitted in June this year.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in its investigation into the heinous attack found no link between Pintu and Huji. But he has been charged in the case as the attackers held two pre-attack meetings at his official residence.

"Pintu has admitted that he heard about the meetings and saw the participants at his house," CID chief had told the press while briefing the contents of the charge sheet.

Of the charge-sheeted accused, only Pintu belongs to BNP and the rest are Huji leaders and activists including two of Pintu's brothers. The investigators said Huji leader and his brother Tajuddin had supplied the grenades used in the attack.

Police on January 17 this year arrested Pintu, one of the BNP leaders who had very strong link with the controversial Hawa Bhaban, which became the alternative power house of the BNP-led four-party alliance government. But his brothers are still at large.

Speaking over phone, Tangail district BNP General Secretary Moniruzzaman Bulbul told The Daily Star last night the party asked Pintu and his another brother Sultan Salauddin Tuku, senior vice-president of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, to file nomination for the Tangail-2 (Bhuapur-Gopalpur) constituency.

"If there's any legal bar to Pintu's election, his brother Tuku will be the BNP nominated candidate for the constituency. So both of them would file the nomination papers," Bulbul added.

He went on to say, "We want Pintu as our candidate; we believe it's all a conspiracy to implicate him in the case. The voters also know this and he would get their sympathy."

Back in 2004, although Hasina escaped the attack with injuries, 24 AL leaders, including Ivy Rahman, and workers were killed and 300 others injured, many of them maimed forever.

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