Today, those who say democracy is democracy, those who are deprived of power due to people’s rejection are losing their enthusiasm, those who are betting that they will not go to the election without a caretaker government, it is surprising to think what the democracy of this country was when they were in power! They created 21 August to kill democracy! Today is August 21. 18 years of brutal assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina. Those under 18 haven’t seen it, don’t even remember it. Those who were children or teenagers in 2004 – those who are today’s young people are not so scarred in the mind of what happened on August 21 in Bangladesh? What a terrible grenade attack was planned to kill the leader of democracy, Sheikh Hasina! Who wanted to kill Bangabandhu daughter Sheikh Hasina that day? It is necessary to know why a certain group of new generation is proud to repeatedly try to kill him.
The BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power in 2001 through a rigged or ‘managed’ election under the so-called caretaker government in the name of democracy. Since coming to power, we have seen the sad scenes of torture and oppression of Awami League leaders and especially on Hindus and various minority communities. Lakhs of leaders and activists have been thrown in jail with false cases of harassment. And in 1971, Nizami, Saidi, Mujahid, who opposed the liberation war, the red-green flag was flying in the houses and cars of Razakar! The members of the martyr’s family are ashamed of the cruel humiliation after seeing the mockery of democracy. And what a sarcastic smile of mercy from the other side of death has not smiled the three million martyrs – whose blood our great flag was won!
Although the four-party coalition government was in power, the Hawa Bhavan took more control over the administration of the state than the Banga Bhavan or the Prime Minister’s office. That is, the state has been managed more from a special residence called Hawa Bhavan than from the Banga Bhavan or the Prime Minister’s office. So it is not difficult to understand what was wrong with democracy then! The anarchic situation caused by dual rule was felt by the conscious citizens of that time. The country is going through a terrible situation! Bengali forgetful nation – forget everything quickly! Without the hint of Hawa Bhaban, no state project would be approved, and from all approved projects, illegal percentage would go to Hawa Bhaban! As a result, the mountain of loot has accumulated in the country and abroad! And recently, BNP has been heating up the media for the kind of caretaker and neutral government that they created at the end of their coalition period. People not only witnessed with pain, but also felt a strange sense of humor when they saw the process of forming a caretaker government in a scary situation! These dire and comic situations ended after the military-backed caretaker government of 1/11 assumed power. Many people know what happened next. We return to the sense of belonging to the events of August 21.
We often say that August is the month of mourning. The poet also says ‘August is the cruelest month…’. On August 15, the assassins attacked Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A power-hungry group killed him in the family – some ambitious young army officers led the campaign! Major Zia knew this incident and advised the killers to go ahead. So, like many others, Xiao cannot escape the responsibility of August 15. 29 years after 75, on August 21, 2004, a grenade attack was carried out to kill Sheikh Hasina, the surviving member of the Bangabandhu family. Even if the public leader was saved, 24 people died that day! Among the perpetrators of this attack, Tariq Rahman’s name came out in the investigation! When Sheikh Hasina came into politics for the helpless common people of the country, took action to alleviate their suffering, won their hearts and minds with the love of the common people and made a unique contribution when she came to state power in 1996, her popularity created fear and panic among the opposition. It was impossible for many to become a public leader like him in his time. No one had the generosity or the courage to stand by such a helpless and helpless person. He mastered this quality of the father of the nation. Therefore, the conspiracy to eliminate Sheikh Hasina also continued. The state administration was intimately connected with this conspiracy – the alleged Hawa Bhavan was also connected. The Minister of Home Affairs, who is in charge of the coalition government, is also one of the defendants in the August 21 attack case – sentenced to death by judicial verdict! These should not be forgotten.
The Awami League organized a public meeting on August 21 at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital against the BNP-Jamaat four-party coalition government’s corruption, black market, rise in commodity prices and arbitrary arrests, murders, disappearances, etc. of opposition leaders and activists. Bangabandhu was the centerpiece of that public meeting. The assassins targeted him there. On that day, Sheikh Hasina was speaking at the end of the rally standing on a temporary stage on a truck. And photojournalists were taking pictures. Near the end of his speech, a series of grenades exploded with loud noises. Many people quickly left the scene with him, Jannetri was saved. Before realizing anything, many died, some on the way to the hospital and some were defeated in a fight with life and death in the hospital. IV Rahman died on August 24 after fighting with death for three days. And it is difficult to accurately calculate how many people who come to the public meeting are living with painful memories!
The people of the world stopped like the people of the country in this hellish incident of assassination attempt on the leader Sheikh Hasina. The day after the incident, Turkish Prime Minister Erabaken, Indian Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi, Indian Lok Sabha Opposition Leader LK Advani and US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca spoke to Sheikh Hasina on August 22. The world could not accept this hellish incident of 21 August. Therefore, the US, UK, European Union and Indian embassies issued statements condemning it. All called on the government to identify and bring the attackers to justice. The US statement said: ‘We strongly condemn this heinous act of political terrorism. Such a commando style attack to wipe out the leadership of the opposition, if successful, would have destroyed democracy and the future of Bangladesh.’ Originally, the attack on Sheikh Hasina on August 21 was termed as an attempt by Western countries to wipe out the opposition Awami League and the leader Sheikh Hasina, thus creating ‘pressure’ on the four-party coalition government. Meanwhile, on August 24, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan strongly condemned the incident, and the next day, on August 25, foreign embassies in Dhaka again issued statements expressing ‘dissatisfaction’ with the government’s role in investigating the incident, which then sparked widespread discussion and criticism. In such a situation, when the Foreign Minister invited foreign envoys for a briefing on August 21, the news that they did not participate in it also sparked a storm of criticism in the media. In the face of such pressure from the international community, Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon called Sheikh Hasina on August 25 to inquire about her health. On the same day, the statement of the Australian and Japanese governments clearly stated that ‘there can be no justification for this heinous attack.’ But when the BNP-Jamaat four-party alliance’s investigation into the assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina on August 21 caused adverse criticism and ‘Iwash’, on August 26, 19 diplomats led by the dean of the diplomatic core, Shahta Jarab, met with the public leader in Dhaka and emphasized on an impartial investigation of the incident. European Union ambassadors in Dhaka called for a fair and political investigation into the attack. The same call was heard time and again as foreign diplomats as well as the countrymen were apprehensive about a fair investigation into the incident. BNP-Jamaat promised to investigate with the help of FBI and Interpol, but ultimately did not do so. Furthermore, by staging the drama ‘Judge Mia’, the August 21 infernal grenade attack case was diverted. But history is very cruel and cruel. History brings out the truth at any cost in the heat of time.
As per the infallible rules of history, many of the real culprits of the grenade attacks have been convicted in the judicial process. Many of them have chosen to escape and live abroad. But history has also proved that because Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the father of the nation, works tirelessly to improve the fortunes of the common people of this country, the common people also love her with their hearts – the people of this country want to move forward with her. Except for BNP-Jamaat, all the people of this country have a deep-rooted belief that the country is safe in the hands of Bangabandhu’s daughter and the country’s democracy is also looking forward to development with her efforts.
Besides August 21, more than 20 attempts were made to kill Sheikh Hasina. That is, not only August, but almost every day is risky for public leaders! But why would he be the target of assassins again and again? It is also important to wake up that question in the minds of the conscientious young generation. Because it is the youth who will liberate the country from the evil power of darkness and lead the country to the path of light.
Ahmed Aminul Islam : Professor, Jahangirnagar University.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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