Monday, June 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hasina sees Oppn hand in blast
Toll rises to 22; Khaleda’s motorcade attacked
Tribune News Service and agencies

Relatives and friends look at bodies of the victims of Saturday's bomb blast at a hospital in Narayanganj near Dhaka on Sunday.
Relatives and friends look at bodies of the victims of Saturday's bomb blast at a hospital in Narayanganj near Dhaka on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Dhaka, June 17
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed today condemned the worst bombing in Bangladesh’s 30-year history and hinted that the Opposition had a hand in the blast that killed 22 persons and injured 100 others.

Speaking in the Opposition-boycotted Parliament, the Prime Minister appealed to Bangladeshis to “unitedly resist those responsible” for yesterday’s blast and promised tough action against the bombers.

“The bomb attack was aimed at our lawmaker, Mr Shamin Osman and the incident took place just days after a BNP leader threatened to eliminate him,” the Premier said, without identifying the leader.

Meanwhile, the motorcade carrying Begum Khaleda Zia, chief of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was today attacked outside the capital by unidentified assailants, the party’s Secretary-General said.

“The motorcade carrying her came under attack and she is returning to Dhaka, cancelling her trip to southern Pirojpur district,” Mr Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, BNP’s Secretary-General, was quoted as saying by the private Ekushey Television.

It gave no further details and Mr Bhuiyan was not immediately available for comment.

Yesterday’s blast had killed at least 22 activists of the ruling Awami League including four women, and had injured at least 100 others, including the local legislator, around 8.45 p.m. at neighbouring Narayanganj, a district town 16 km south of the capital city of Dhaka. The town is well-connected by road with Dhaka city. Because of the huge explosion, splinters seriously injured passersby on the road adjacent to the office.

Eight of the victims died on the spot. Six more died on way to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) or at the hospital. One died at the Hospital for Disabled and seven at Narayanganj Modern Hospital. The seriously injured have been shifted to different hospitals in Dhaka. The death toll may rise further, the attending doctors feared. Only 10 of the victims could be identified. One of them is Akhtar, general secretary of the Students Union of the local Tolaram College, student activists of the Awami League.

The Home Minister visited the place of occurrence and Narayanganj Hospital within two hours. He asked the police to start investigations into the incident.

This was the sixth of a series of bomb explosions in 27 months at different places, including a Catholic church just a fortnight ago in a remote village. A total of 65 lives were lost and 298 persons were injured in these bomb blasts.

Mr Shamin Osman, local ruling party legislator and general secretary of the district Awami League with a splinter injury in his hand and leg, is undergoing treatment at Combined Military Hospital here. He was operated upon last night. The bombs exploded at a time when the legislator’s weekly “meet-the-people meeting” was in progress in the party office. More than 200 persons were inside the building at the time of the blast.

The tin roof of the recently built office was blown off. Limbs of many victims were blown off or severed. Most of the injured were found with severed limbs. The building was littered with blood and flesh and shoes.

Intelligence officials, who rushed to the spot last evening, hold the opinion that the bomb was very powerful but it is not known whether it was planted earlier or whether there was a suicide carrier. The bomb exploded in the office room of Mr Osman, which he left just a few seconds earlier to meet the people waiting to see him in an adjacent room. It means the bomb missed its target Mr Osman.

In a prompt move, the district police arrested Liton, a young activist of the now defunct Freedom Party, an organisation of the killers of founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |