We must remain vigilant against extremism and all kinds of violence in our society
On August 21, 2004, a grenade attack at an Awami League rally killed 24 people, and injured 300 others. Though the primary target of the attack, Sheikh Hasina, was unharmed, numerous party loyalists perished that day, including stalwart Ivy Rahman. The trauma of that day still haunts not only those who were at the site of the attack, but also the rest of the nation.
All those who were involved in the grenade attack must now be brought to book. Frustratingly, in the immediate aftermath of the grenade attack, a number of the perpetrators were protected by the authorities, and some of them were allowed to leave the country. Thankfully, some 14 years after the attack, Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 gave the death sentence to 19 people, including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, as well as life sentences to 19.
While punishment is needed in order for justice to be served, the scars of the day remain. There are countless stories from the day: Freedom fighter AH Morshed was injured by a grenade splinter, and to this day, he feels pain in his legs, and has lost the use of one of his eyes. His arteries have also been damaged. Another victim, Harun Ur Rashid, is in so much pain that he can barely speak. To these two people and many others, August 21 was the day that changed everything.
We must remain vigilant against extremism and all kinds of violence in our society so that we never again see a repeat of this sort of attack. It is crucial, to that end, to bring every single involved individual to book.