PM SHEIKH HASINA’S ASSAILANTS STILL ACTIVE EVEN AFTER 19 ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE, SAYS CLOSE AIDE
Sumon Mahbub, bdnews24.com
There have been 19 assassination attempts on Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina’s life and the assailants are still active, one of her spokespersons has said
“The conspirators have tried to eliminate the prime minister 19 times,” her Special Assistant Mahbubul Hoque Shakil told bdnews24.com on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the gruesome attack.
Grenades tore through an Awami League public rally at Bangabandhu Avenue on Aug 21, 2004 during the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami government’s tenure.
Twenty-four persons, including late President Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed.
The attempts include firing on a procession on Jan 24, 1988, another at her home and even a ‘bid to poison her’, said Shakil, who worked closely with the Awami League chief for years.
“Bangabandhu Sheikh Muujibur Rahman’s two daughters survived the massacre of their family because they were abroad. But there have been consistent attempts to kill the prime minister.”
Police and BDR fired at a rally of the then Eight-Party alliance at Chittagong to kill Hasina in 1988. Seven died and around 300 were injured.
Eldest daughter of the slain Father of the Nation, Hasina returned home in 1981, after being forced to live in exile in New Delhi because the regimes that followed her father’s killing denied her entry into Bangladesh.
“Armed assailants from the political party of Bangabandhu’s killers attacked their Dhanmondi house at midnight of Aug 11, 1989. Sheikh Hasina was inside. The attackers opened fired on the house and threw a grenade,” said Shakil, a former student leader.
Again, there was an attempt on her life just after Hasina had returned to Dhaka from Tungiparha at noon after voting in the by-election on Sept 11, 1991. She went to visit a voting centre at Green Road.
“BNP men began firing and blasting bombs as soon as she got out of the vehicle.”
Shots were fired at a train carrying Hasina while it was approaching Natore Railway Station in Sept 23, 1994, he said.
“She was addressing a public rally at Sheikh Russel Square and she was fired at suddenly,” said Shakil of another incident from Dec 7, 1995.
He continued recalling.
It was Mar 7, 1996 and there was a public rally at Bangabandhu Avenue.
“The chief had just finished her speech and a microbus whisked in and fired shots and threw bombs targetting the rally stage.”
A close aide to the head of government, he recalled the time when charges were pressed against one Shoeb Chowdhury at Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrates Court. He was accused of sending out emails announcing rewards for those who can kill 31 including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her son-daughter in July 1999.
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) had planted a 76 kg bomb in her rally spot at Gopalganj’s Kotaliparha on Jul 20, 2000.
Shakil said HuJI militants had planted a bomb at Khulna’s Rupsha Bridge to kill then Prime Minister Hasina who was scheduled to inaugurate it on May 29, 2001.
After the caretaker government took charge, the Awami League chief had gone to Sylhet on Sept 25 that year for campaigning. A bomb exploded in a house barely 500 yards from the rally venue around 8pm, killing two people.
In 2002, when the BNP-led government was in power, a Juba Dal leader led attacks on Hasina’s vehicle in front of Naogaon’s BMC Government Women’s College on Mar 4. Hasina was the opposition leader then.
On Sept 29 that year, the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami activists barricaded the road at Satkhira’s Kolaroa and attacked Hasina’s motorcade.
Shots were fired on Hasina’s motorcade at Barisal’s Gournadi on Apr 2, 2004.
The Awami League alleged the army-backed 2007-8 caretaker government tried to poison Hasina after she was detained in jail.
Shakil said, “The military-backed caretaker government arrested the Awami League chief without a warrant on July 16, 2007. There were attempts to kill Sheikh Hasina by poisoning her food.
“She had fallen sick due to slow poisoning at the time.”
Even when in power, someone had hired assassins abroad to kill Hasina, Shakil said.
“An anti-Bangladesh country had formed a suicide squad with a terrorist group in 2011 to kill Hasina. They received advance payment.
“But the killers died in a road crash abroad,” he added.
Shakil said there was a failed military coup in December 2011 to oust and kill Hasina.
The prime minister’s special aide referred to the confession of militant Shahanur Alam – arrested over the Burdwan blast – that the JMB had plotted to kill Hasina to throw the country into chaos.
On Mar 7, the JMB tried to bomb her motorcade at Karwanbazar when she was going to the Suhrawardy Udyan, Shakil added.
Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana survived the Aug 15, 1975 assassination as they were abroad. But she risked her life by returning home and joining politics.
Hasina, daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father, told a programme that she did not care about conspiracies.
“Only Allah can give and take life. I never bowed to anybody except Allah and never will,” she had said.
AUGUST 21, 2015