Arson victims and their families still cry for justice although several years have passed after the heinous attacks carried out during the blockade enforced by the BNP-Jamaat alliance.
Several hundred cases were lodged in connection with the arson attacks that took place during the blockade in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and law enforcers have submitted charge sheets in many cases, but no one has been punished yet.Monjur Hossain Monsur, a 35-year-old truck driver who sustained burn injuries in an arson attack in January 2015, demanded urgent trial of those who hurled petrol bombs at innocent people and killed them in the name of so-called political movement.
“What kind of politics is this? Those culprits must be given punishment for such sinister attacks as they burnt innocent and working people like me,” he said.
“Such brutal incident will recur if the law enforcers fail to identify the culprits and bring them to justice,” he observes.
Monsur said he now cannot do any work as his face and left hand were fatally burnt while his eight and five-year-old children are facing an uncertain future.
Talking to the daily sun, family members of many slain and injured persons have shared the impacts of the brutal violence on innocent people, including women, children and wage-earners.
Many of the families lost their bread-earners to the violence during the countrywide transport blockade enforced by BNP-Jamaat alliance from January 2015.The BNP-Jamaat alliance imposed the blockade in 2015 demanding resignation of the present government, which took office for the second consecutive term in 2014.
BNP and its main ally Jamaat-e-Islami allegedly unleashed violence to resist the national election in 2014 and again in 2015 in the country.
Several thousand vehicles were vandalised and torched during the blockade. As many as 500 people, including 20 law enforcers, were killed and over 4,000 injured in the violence (mostly in arson attacks).
Arson attacks were carried out to burn 2,903 cars, 18 rail carriages and eight passenger-carrying water vessels. Through targeted attacks, 70 government offices were vandalised or destroyed while six land offices were burnt.
Though many arson attack victims are getting financial assistance from the Awami League-led government, the support is not sufficient to meet their needs.
Zahura Begum, mother of the deceased bus helper Imran Hasan, said, “We could not bear Imran’s educational expenses but he used to work as a helper of a bus driver and continued his study. But the culprits killed my son.”
“The government should hold trial of those who killed my 20-year-old child. I want punishment for those who killed my son in a petrol bomb attack,” she said.
Mosharraf Hossain, a businessman who was injured in an attack that took place after the execution of war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah in 2013, also demanded maximum punishment for those culprits.
“We were attacked by Jamaat-e-Islami activists. Twenty-seven houses were torched. We cannot lodge a case. They can kill us in the dark of the night if we file cases against them,” he said.
Moushumy Sultana Bannya, daughter-in-law of injured rickshaw puller Fazlur Rahman, demanded trial of arson attackers.
“Although we don’t know who hurled petrol bombs, trial should be held. Otherwise innocent people will lose faith in politics and politicians,” she said.