Tarique Rahman, key leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who has been spending millions of dollars towards lobbyist activities in the United States, United Kingdom and other European nations is a convicted terrorist.
On August 21, 2004, at the direct instructions of Tarique Rahman, terrorists of BNP along with members of militancy outfits such as Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI) had launched grenade attacks targeting Sheikh Hasina and leaders of Awami League. According to the court verdict, this gruesome attack was a well-orchestrated plan through abuse of state power. And all the accused, including BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman and former top intelligence officials, were found guilty and handed down various punishments for the grenade attacks that killed 24 people and injured scores. In the murder case, Tarique and 18 others were sentenced to life in prison.
The conviction of these once influential politicians, former top officials of police, DGFI, NSI, CID and top HuJI militants exposes the meticulously-devised plan and abuse of state machinery to not only carry out the attack, but also to mislead the investigation.
In the verdict, Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 said: “The specialized deadly Arges grenades that are used in wars were blasted at the Awami League’s central office at 23 Bangabandhu Avenue in broad daylight with the help of the then state machinery. The prosecution has been able to prove that the accused held meetings to conspire in different places before the incident and blasted grenades in a planned manner”.
“After the assassination of the Father of the Nation on August 15, 1975, four national leaders were murdered inside the jail as part of a conspiracy. But the conspiracy did not stop there, it rather continued”, the court noted.
“Later, an evil effort was made to make the Awami League leaderless on August 21, 2004”.
Quoting the testimony of prosecution witness Abdur Rashid, who was junior vice president of an Islamist outfit named Al-Markazul Islami Bangladesh, the court said accused Sheikh Farid, Hannan, Abu Taher, Tajuddin and the witness himself went to Hawa Bhaban, known to be the alternative center of power, in Banani in mid-August of 2004 on a microbus.
A little later Tarique showed up there, reads the judgment.
In his confessional statement, Hannan also said they went to Hawa Bhaban on a microbus of Al-Markazul Islami Bangladesh and met Tarique Rahman along with few other leaders of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami as well as top officials of intelligence agencies.
They were assured of all kinds of administrative support in the meeting when Tarique Rahman told them to carry out the plan.
The prime target of the attack was AL President Sheikh Hasina, then opposition leader. But Hasina, now the prime minister, narrowly survived as some of her party leaders protected her by forming a human shield around her. She, however, suffered injuries to her ear.
In February 2018, Tarique Rahman and his mother Khaleda Zia were sentenced to 10 years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. Tarique, who has been living in London since September 2008, was also sentenced to seven years in jail in a money laundering case in 2016.
Tarique Rahman behind insurgency inside India
Major General Gaganjit Singh, former Deputy Director General of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman was the mastermind of 10 truck arms haul in Chattogram [Chittagong] in 2004.
Talking to India Today and a television channel in Bangladesh, he said the arms were being supplied under direct patronization of the then BNP-Jamaat alliance to use Bangladesh as a sanctuary.
Ten trucks full of arms seized at Chittagong in April 2004 was meant not only for the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) but also for a few other rebel groups in India’s northeast to destabilize the country, he added.
“But he was operating in close coordination with DGFI and some NSI officials who had close links with Tarique Rahman (current acting chairman of BNP) and his cronies in what was then referred to as Hawa Bhaban (political office of BNP)”, disclosed Singh.
The arms were being supplied by taking advantage of the BNP-Jamaat alliance to use Bangladesh as a sanctuary, Singh revealed.