Four years have passed since a blast at Hotel Olio International in the capital’s Panthapath on the National Mourning Day, August 15, 2017 but the trial is yet to start in the case.
The case is now pending with the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in Dhaka against 13 men of banned militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB) as the indictment hearing could not be held till now.
But the trial is yet to begin in the case as the indictment hearing could not be held till now due to absence of regular court hearing amid the coronavirus pandemic situation.
Tribunal’s Public Prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan Zakir said that the start of the trial in the case is delayed in the absence of regular court hearing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The state lawyer also said they are trying their level best to start and complete the trial in the case.
Earlier on December 9, 2019, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of DMP submitted a charge sheet accusing 13 militants of new JMB in the case.
The 13 accused are Akram Hossain Khan Niloy, his parents Abu Turab Khan and Sadia Hosna Lucky, sister Tazrin Khanom Shuvo, Tanvir Yasin Karim, Tanvir’s wife Humayra Jakir alias Nabila, Abdullah alias Aichan Kabiraj alias Rafik, Abul Kashem Fakir alias Abu, Nazmul Hasan Mamun, Tarek Mohammad alias Adnan, Lulu Sarder alias Shahid, Kamrul Islam Khan alias Shakil, and Abdullah.
Meanwhile, another charge sheet was also submitted against teenage boy Tajul Islam, one of the accused in the case, under the Children Act.
According to the case, Saiful Isalm, 21, a member of New JMB, blew himself up on August 15, 2017 at Hotel Olio International on Panthapath, only about 300m away from the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, the historic house in Dhanmondi where the Father of the Nation was brutally killed along with most of his family members on August 15, 1975.
The incident took place just three hours after President Md Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and other high-ups of the government paid their respects to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the museum in Dhanmondi on the National Mourning Day.
The National Mourning Day procession was the bomber’s target, but he was forced to detonate early when the CCTC unit cordoned off the hotel.
CTTC unit officials said cornered by the anti-militancy drives after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 1, 2016, the New JMB had planned the attempted attack on the National Mourning Day procession.
Niloy, who was the chief of New JMB then, planned the attack and instructed Saiful to take up position at the hotel. The militants used the Dark Web and a Telegram channel to communicate amongst themselves.
A day before the CTTC raid at the Hotel, the outfit’s explosives expert, Mamun, allegedly supplied explosives to Saiful in the capital’s Abdullahpur area. Later, Saiful checked in the hotel with a suicide vest to carry out an attack on the crowd joining the August 15 memorial.
According to the charge sheet, Niloy was the mastermind of the blast while Tanvir, Abu Turab, Sadia, Humayira and Tazreen were financiers. Abdullah, Kamrul and Tareque, and Abdullah alias Aichan, face charges of cooperating with and sheltering the militants.
Advocate Subrata Debnath, counsel for four accused, said the case is now pending with the court due to Covid-19 and the trial would start soon after resumption of the regular court proceedings.