Bangladeshis demand punishment for rally bombers | india | Hindustan Times
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Bangladeshis demand punishment for rally bombers

Unidentified attackers detonated seven grenades during an Awami rally at capital Dhaka's Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 15:59 IST

Thousands of Bangladeshis rallied in the capital on Monday to demand a better investigation into a grenade attack that killed at least 23 members of the opposition Awami League two years ago.

Unidentified attackers detonated seven grenades during an Awami rally at Dhaka's Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004, soon after party chief Sheikh Hasina had finished speaking.

Hasina, a former prime minister, survived the attack, but her hearing was seriously impaired.

Monday's rally was called to commemorate the anniversary and to make fresh demands for a credible probe.

State Minister for Home Affairs, Lutfuzzaman Babar, told reporters late on Sunday that the investigation was continuing, but would take more time.

Hasina accused the government of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia of being involved in the attack in an effort to perpetuate the rule of her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Hasina, who lost her father, independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most her family members in a 1975 army coup, said the killers would be "brought to book and punished severely" if the Awami League won power in a parliamentary election due next January.

Many grieving relatives of the 2004 attack attended Monday's rally, holding up photographs of those who died and banners and placards demanding justice.

"I want nothing but exemplary punishment for the killers of my son," said a tearful Fefroza Begum.

"I still suffer from pain and burning sensation as some splinters (from the grenades) are still embedded in my body," said Shahida Akhtar Dipti, a woman hurt in the attack.