Tale of an August-21 grenade attack victim


Chowdhury Ali Ahmed Sobuj hails from a respectable family in Gopalganj district. His father, Chowhury Azahar Uddin was a freedom fighter, who also took part in the language movement in 1952. Being a school teacher, Azahar Uddin was a dedicated member of Awami League and a follower of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His name is mentioned in the biography of the Father of the Nation. Grandfather of Chowdhury Ali Ahmed Sobuj participated in the movement against British colonial ruler. Clearly, Sobuj comes from a family with rich background of its active role in each of the historic movements in Bangladesh, while his family has been known for their undeterred dedication towards Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Awami League.

Back in 2004, when a rally of Awami League came under grenade attacks in Dhaka’s Bangbandhu Avenue area, Chowdhury Ali Ahmed Sobuj, amongst dozens of committed Awami League activists had stood to protect their most admired leader – Sheikh Hasina and was hit by grenade splinters. Being hit by grenade, Sobuj was rushed to hospital in a critical state – he was hit with splinters in his chest and his legs, and his right ear was completely damaged. He remained unconscious for many days in a critical condition in the hospital.

While perpetrators of the August 24 attack should be punished, dedicated workers like Sobuj – whose many sacrifices have sustained Awami League during its most challenging times – should get acknowledged for their courageous role and commitment from the top leadership of Awami League, especially, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

What happened on August 21

Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina had been speaking at a public meeting on Bangabandhu Avenue, protesting blasts against the party’s workers in Sylhet. The rally drew a crowd of 20,000 people.[4] As Hasina finished her speech, a total of 13 grenades were thrown into the crowd from the rooftops of nearby buildings, killing at least 16 people on spot, later the death toll reached 24. The blast left more than 500 injured. Among the dead were Sheikh Hasina’s bodyguard, Mahbubur Rahman and Awami League Women’s Affairs Secretary Ivy Rahman, who died from her injuries three days later.

Due to evil influence of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP and their cohort Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), police refused to register any criminal case filed by Awami League over this gruesome attack and only registered a general diary, evidently proving – the ruling party’s involvement behind August 21 attacks (which can also be termed as genocide). Even the BNP-Jamaat government refused to hand over the bodies of the victims.


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