Fugitive convict in Aug 21 grenade attack case held, sent to jail
He confesses to hurling grenade targeting Sheikh Hasina: RAB
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested a fugitive convict in the August 21 grenade attack case from the capital's Diabari area early Tuesday.
The arrestee, Iqbal alias Jahangir alias Selim, was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the gruesome grenade attack on an Awami League rally targeting Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader in the parliament, on August 21 in 2004.
Iqbal was taken into custody after a raid in the Diabari area around 3:00 am on Tuesday, RAB's Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun said during a press briefing at the elite force's media centre in Karwan Bazar. The RAB raided the area based on the information given by the National Security Intelligence.
Iqbal was staying in the country and foreign countries in disguise. He changed his name and profession while living in foreign countries, the RAB DG disclosed the information at the press briefing.
Iqbal was a member of the banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh (Huji), according to RAB.
"Iqbal was found on the street," Mamun said. "He had served as a representative of JCD on the student council at Government KC College in Jhenaidah in 1994. He went to Malaysia after passing the HSC examinations and lived there as a migrant worker from 1995 to 1998," Mamun added. Iqbal launched a small business after returning to Bangladesh and later joined banned militant outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh or HuJI-B in 2001.
"He met Mufti Hannan and other top militant leaders of Bangladesh in 2003 and joined military-style training at that time. He came to Dhaka following Mufti Hannan's instructions in 2004," the RAB DG said.
Iqbal admitted that he directly took part in the grenade attack on the Awami League rally on August 21 following the instructions given by Mufti Hannan who provided him with grenades to carry out the attack. "He threw a bomb targeting the stage," Mamun said.
Iqbal went into hiding in Jhenaidah after the attack and remained there under the guise of a rickshaw-puller, a security guard and a labourer. The elite force raided various places, including his own residence, in Jhenaidah in 2008, but failed to arrest him as he left the country for the second time.
He was identified as an illegal immigrant and sent back to the country at the end of 2020, RAB's Director-General Mamun said.
At least 24 people were killed and around 300 injured in the grisly attack on an Awami League rally in the capital's Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004. Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader in the parliament, narrowly escaped the attack with an ear injury.
The grenade attack, masterminded by some BNP leaders, is one of the most shocking political crimes in the country's history.
A Dhaka court had sentenced 19 people to death in 2018, including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister for education Abdus Salam Pintu, for their involvement in the grenade.
Another 19 people, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman and her former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, were sentenced to life imprisonment in the case. Eleven government officials, accused in the case, received different types of sentences.
Our court correspondent reported that a Dhaka court on Tuesday sent Iqbal Hossain, a convict in the August 21 grenade attack case, to jail.
Iqbal was produced before the Speedy Trial Tribunal No-1. As Judge Abu Zafar Kamruzzaman went to his residence after the office hour, Metropolitan Magistrate Baki Billah sent Iqbal to jail, showing him arrested under Section 54 of the Cr PC.