‘I’m almost disabled, a living dead’

Mahbuba Parvin, one of the many Awami League activists who are still carrying the wounds of the 21 August grenade attack on a Awami League rally at the Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital.

Mahbuba Parvin was one of the many Awami League activists to suffer grave injuries in the grenade attack at a rally of the then opposition leader Shiekh Hasina at the Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital on 21 August 2004.

She was then the women affairs secretary of Dhaka district (greater) Swechchhasebak League. 19 years have passed since then, she is still carrying the wounds of the attack.

“Now, I’m almost disabled, a living dead,” said Mahbuba who is currently the vice president of Dhaka district (greater) Swechchhasebak League.

“After getting severely hurt in the 21 August grenade attack, I was in a wheelchair for five years. Then I had to walk using a crutch for seven years. Often, I am in anguish at midnight from the splinters that are still present in my flesh, but I can’t go to a hospital as I don’t have a car of my own. I can’t sleep at night due to the pain from the splinter. You can say, I’m dying slowly,” she added.

Mahbuba spoke about the horrific incident in her residence at Savar’s Bank Colony on Saturday evening. She stuttered in horror a couple of times while recalling the attack, the memories of that day still shake her in fear.

Mahbuba, who is carrying 1,797 pieces of splinter in her body, said that the pain from the splinter gets worse at night. She said that her only desire now is to see swift execution of the verdict on the 21 August grenade attack case.

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“My hope is to see the ones who have been proven guilty in the verdict face their punishment,” she said.

Mahbuba’s anger about the current state of local politics was also palpable. She said, although she was always adored by the prime minister, she has constantly been overlooked in local politics. She complained she was not given the importance she deserves in her hometown of Savar and she doesn’t always get invited to local party programmes.

Mahbuba complained that root level leaders and activists are getting overlooked in favour of ‘hybrid’ leaders and activists.

She said, “We were in politics when the party was going through a difficult period, we were ready to bleed for the party. We were tortured by the party in power when we were in the opposition. Back then, politics was about making sacrifices, now it’s about usurping. The hybrid leaders are getting to sit in party programmes. The ones who sacrificed are being left behind.”

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