Terming the 21 August 2004 grenade attack an attempt to create leadership crisis, the relevant tribunal emphasises the ruling party’s tolerant view of the opposition in a democracy.
"Does politics mean carrying out gruesome attack on the opposition? The people do not want such politics," the tribunal’s judge Shahed Noor Uddin said in the observation of the judgement in the case on Wednesday.
“Should there be any attempt to create leadership vacuum although dispute between the ruling and opposition parties is natural,” said the tribunal which awarded death penalty to 19 people including a former state minister and an ex-deputy minister, and sentenced life-term to 19 others including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman.
The court cautioned that the people might lose their interest in politics if a ruling party continues its ‘evil attempt’ to annihilate the opposition to create vacuum in leadership. The tribunal referred to the attacks on the public rally.
“In a democratic society, the ruling party should show generous attitude toward the opposition to help flourish democracy,” the court insisted.
It went on to say that it is in no way a reflection of democratic feelings of the ruling party leaders to gain politically by trying to kill the opposition leaders.
The judge said the court does not expect recurrence of such incidents like the attacks on prime minister Sheikh Hasina, on former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and at Ramna Bato Mool.
“It’s possible to stop such heinous attacks by giving exemplary punishment to the perpetrators,” he expressed his conviction.
The then opposition leader prime minister Sheikh Hasina received injuries in her right ear, said the court adding that witness Nila Chowdhury, who was injured in the grenade attack, is now leading a ‘difficult life’.
The court said weapons like Arges grenades were used with the assistance of then administration in broad daylight attack on the Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla online, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.