Aug 21 grenade attack staged with BNP-Jamaat patronage: PM

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DHAKA, Aug 28, 2018 (BSS) -Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused again the then BNP-Jamaat government of perpetrating the barbaric grenade attack on an Awami League rally in 2004, saying that such a heinous act cannot take place in the country without their patronage.

“The gruesome grenade attack was staged with the patronage of the then BNP-Jamaat government … without their help such an incident cannot take place,” she said.

The prime minister said this while exchanging views with the leaders of the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashthami at her official Ganbhaban residence here this afternoon.

The premier said the grisly grenade attack was carried out on the peaceful Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on August 21, 2004.

“We had arranged the rally for peace and in protest against terrorist activities of the militants across the country including an attack on the then British high commissioner at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) in Sylhet,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said in the world history, such a heinous act did not take place in broad daylight. “The grenades that are used in the battle field were hurled on the rally to eliminate the Awami League leaders,” she said.

 

Sheikh Hasina pointed that terrorism, militancy, drug abuse and smuggling of arms were regular phenomena in the country during the BNP-Jamaat misrule. Not only the August 21 grenade attack, numerous such incidents happened after the 2001 elections, she said.

She said the Awami League leaders and workers fell victims of the BNP-Jamaat killing and torture on one side, while the minority communities, especially the Hindu community, became victims on the other.

The Awami League president said attacks were also made on other communities like Muslims, Christians and the Buddhists as well as the mosques, temples, churches and pagodas, she said, adding such an anarchic situation continued throughout Bangladesh.

The prime minister said the Awami League government after assuming office in 2009 made efforts so that peace exists in the country and the venom of terrorism, militancy and communalism cannot spread.

“We want to build Bangladesh in the non-communal spirit and the people of all faiths perform their religious rites freely and peacefully,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said all the citizens of the country will live here with equal rights. “You, the people of Hindu community, will live here with your own rights …this soil is yours also,” she said.

She said that in every sphere of life, the people of the country will enjoy their equal rights. “In socioeconomic sector, in education, in healthcare and in performing respective religious rituals all have the equal rights,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that as the government it is her responsibility to ensure equal rights for all people of the country.

She mentioned that it is the duty of the government to create an environment where people from all religions will perform their religious customs freely and with honour. “We are performing our duty and we will do whatever is necessary,” she said.

Referring to her government’s philosophy of “the religion is for individuals and festival is for all”, she said the people of all religious faiths fought shoulder to shoulder in 1971 and embraced martyrdom to liberate the country.

The prime minister said that during the great Liberation War the people of all faiths under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman joined the war and gave their blood for the independence of the country.

“People brought independence in exchange for their blood, so this country is for the people of all religions,” she said.

 

Putting importance on maintaining communal and religious harmony in the country, Sheikh Hasina said, every religion preaches peace, fraternity and tolerance and it is the important aspect of the religion.

She said the government has made arrangements so that the members of the Hindu community can enjoy their property equally. “We’ve framed laws for the Hindus similar to the Muslims so that they don’t need to pay tax for handing over their property to the children,” she said.

Urging the members of the Hindu community to take initiatives by themselves to remove disparity in the law, she said that nobody is enemy here.

The premier said the government has enacted laws to hand over vested property. “Besides, we have framed the Hindu Marriage Registration Law and ensured other facilities for the Hindu community,” she said.

She said that the government always made efforts to ensure that festivals of all religions could be held in a festive mood. “This is the beauty of Bangladesh where people from all religions participated in every religious festival,” she added.

The prime minister extended her greetings to members of the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashtami, saying Lord Krishna had preached message of love, justice and affection which all should promote.

Sheikh Hasina said Lord Krishna was born to establish brotherhood among the people through “Checking the wicked and nurturing the good”.

Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman, leaders of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Committee, Janmashtami Udjapon Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee also spoke on the occasion.

At the outset of the function, the leaders of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee greeted the prime minister by presenting bouquets to her.

Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15, 1975 carnage.