Survivors of the August 21 grenade attack and family members of those killed in the incident have expressed mixed reactions over the verdict passed by a Dhaka court in two cases filed over the attack.
They are not satisfied with life term for BNP acting chief Tarique Rahman, saying that he is one of the masterminds of the grenade attack and deserves capital punishment.However, they said they are happy with the death sentence for the 19 accused, including former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babor.
They think all the accused deserve the highest punishment for the heinous crimes, which took place at an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in 2004.
They said they will move the higher court seeking capital punishment for Tarique, who has been living in London since 2008.
Freedom fighter and grenade attack victim Mahmuda Monowara Begum gathered at the court on Old Dhaka Central Jail premises to hear the much-awaited verdict.
After hearing the judgment, she told the daily sun that she was not happy with the verdict.
“I expected capital punishment for all the accused, including Tarique Rahman, but he was sentenced to life-term imprisonment,” she said.Mahmuda, a resident of Keraniganj, who stood near the makeshift stage on a truck at the time of the grenade attack in 2004, sustained splinter injuries in different parts of her body.
“I still cannot sleep well for the splinters in my legs, hands, head and other parts of the body,” she said.
Samrat Akbar Sabuj, another grenade attack survivor who gathered on the court premises, said, “None is above the law. I have felt pain after the verdict. Tarique destroyed lives of several hundred people. But he was awarded life-term imprisonment. I think he deserves the highest punishment.”
The grenade attack killed 24 people and injured 300 others.
Sabuj demanded capital punishment for Tarique.
He claimed that Tarique wanted to kill him and other victims at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. But he did not elaborate any further.
But he has expressed his happiness over the death sentence for Babor and 18 other accused.
A number of survivors and family members of the deceased also gathered at Awami League’s central office on Bangabandhu Avenue on Wednesday.
After the verdict, many of them burst into tears and said they were happy as they were able to see the verdict even after 14 years.
But many expressed their dissatisfaction over the verdict on Tarique.
Azizur Rahman, a grenade attack victim and vice-president of Dhaka North Unit of Awami League, said, “We expected that all the accused would get capital punishment. But it did not happen.”
He said they will go to the High Court against the verdict.
Rashida Akhter Roma, another grenade attack victim, echoed the same.
Another victim advocate Kazi Shahana Yasmeen said, “We respect the court verdict. But we shall appeal against the judgment as we expected death sentence for Tarique.”
Nazimuddin Nazmul, general secretary of ’21 August Bangladesh, an organisation of the victims and family members of the deceased, said, “We are not happy with the verdict. We expected death sentence for Tarique as he was the mastermind of the attack.”