Tuesday, 5 July, 2022

21 Years of Ramna Blast

Cry for justice goes unheard

  • Md Solamain Salman
  • 14 April, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The victim’s families are enduring an unending wait for justice as the two cases filed over the Ramna Batamul bomb blast are yet to be disposed of, though 21 years have elapsed since the incident took place in 2001.

The banned militant outfit, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJi), conducted the attack during the Chhayanaut program marking the Bangla New Year on April 14, 2001. Ten people were killed and over 50 others were injured in the blast.

After the incident, two cases--one under the Penal Code for murder and the other under the Explosive Substances Act--were filed with Ramna Police Station.

The murder case filed under the Penal Code has been pending with the High Court for the last eight years, while the case filed under the explosive substance act is pending with a Dhaka court.

According to court sources, on June 23, 2014, 13 years after the incident, a Dhaka court sentenced eight militants, including Mufti Hannan, to death and six others to life imprisonment in the murder case.

Those who received death sentences are Mufti Abdul Hannan, Arif Hasan Sumon, Maulana Akbar Hossain, Maulana Tajuddin, Hafez Jahangir Alam Badal, Maulana Abu Bakar, Mufti Shafikur Rahman, and Mufti Abdul Hai.

The six others are Shahadat Ullah Jewel, Hafez Maulana Abu Taher, Maulana Abdur Rauf, Maulana Sabbir Hossain, Maulana Yahiya, and Maulana Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid.

 Of the accused, Mufti Hannan was executed in 2017 in another case, and five convicts--Sumon, Jewel, Abu Taher, Rauf, and Akbar--are behind bars while others are still on the run.

The case documents and judgment reached the High Court as death references seven days after the lower court had delivered the verdict.

Almost eight years have elapsed since the delivery of the verdict, but the case is still pending with the High Court as the hearing on death references and jail appeals of the convicts are yet to be disposed of.

High Court sources said eight of the condemned men filed separate appeals with the HC challenging the trial court verdict.

The hearing in the case started on January 17, 2017, at a bench of the HC, but it was dropped from the cause list due to the reformation of the bench later.

Later, the case was scheduled for a death reference hearing before a High Court bench comprised of Justice Krishna Debnath and Justice ASM Abdul Mobin.

But the bench was dismantled due to the promotion of one of the judges to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

When asked, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said, "We will try to start hearing in the case. The judge of the bench in which the case was heard has gone to the Appellate Division.  I will take the initiative to start hearing case after Eid. "

Defence lawyer Shishir Monir, said, "We want a hearing in the case, but the state is taking time. Although there was a date for hearing on October 24 last year, the bench was later dismantled and the matter went to the Chief Justice, but so far no bench has been constituted till now. "

Besides, the case filed under the explosive substance act is now pending with Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 for completion of the trial even after 21 years of the incident.

Dhaka court sources said recently that the recording of the deposition was concluded after a total of 54 prosecution witnesses testified in the case.

On April 10, the tribunal fixed April 20 for placing an argument before the court by the prosecution in the case.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Public Prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuyain said, "The trial is nearing an end in the blast case. We hope that the tribunal will deliver the verdict on the completion of the arguments soon."

 The state lawyer also informed us that there are a total of 14 accused in the case. Of them, seven are in jail, four others are on the run, and three others died.

After the deadly bomb attack, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police found that the militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJi) was complicit in the attack. The CID submitted a charge sheet in both cases against 14 militants, including HuJi chief Mufti Hannan, on November 30, 2008.

Two accused Mufti Hannan and Akbar confessed that they carried out the grisly attack on the Pahela Baishakh celebration as celebrating the Bangla New Year is anti-Islamic.

Mufti Hannan was executed at Kashimpur High Security Prison on April 13, 2017, in connection with another case.