- Published on Saturday, 22 August 2015 00:08
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, has survived at least 19 attempts on her life, the worst being on August 21 in 2004, when grenades thrown by unidentified assailants tore through an Awami League rally.
The AL and Prime Sheikh Hasina herself on several occasion said that she escaped death 19 times.
AL leaders and officials said Sheikh Hasina has survived a dozen gun and bomb attacks since she returned to Bangladesh on May 17 in 1981, six years after her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated by a group of disgruntled army officers on August 15 in 1975.
Most members of Bangabandhu's family were also killed but his two daughters - Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana - escaped the carnage as they were staying abroad at the time.
After her return home, Sheikh Hasina held the reign of a devastated Awami League and became Prime Minister in 1996. Now she is in her third-term as PM of the country.
Prime Minister's Special Assistant Mahbubul Haque Shakil detailed the chronology of the attacks on Sheikh Hasina to the Daily Observer on Thursday.
The first attempt on Sheikh Hasina was made on November 10 in 1987 when she joined an agitation against the military rule of General HM Ershad near the Secretariat building. Bullets were shot at her car. A bullet hit a jubilant anti-Ershad protester, Nur Hossain, who died on the spot.
An attack on Sheikh Hasina was made on January 24 in 1988 while she was addressing a public meeting in Chittagong. Police fired on the crowd, killing nearly 40 people but Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped.
A group of 10 to 12 people, mostly Freedom Party activists hurled bombs and fired shots at Sheikh Hasina's Dhanmondi residence on August 10 in 1989.
On September 11 in 1991, Sheikh Hasina came under attack when she was visiting a polling centre at Green Road in the capital. Shots were fired but she escaped unhurt.
Another attempt was made to kill Sheikh Hasina during her train-march programme in Ishwardi on September 13 in 1994. She was saved for the sixth time when she was addressing a rally at Russel Square at Panthapath in the capital on December 7 in 1995.
Then she survived another attempt while returning from a meeting at Curzon Hall of Dhaka University in the capital on March 7 in 1996. Twenty people were injured during that attempt on her.
On July 20 in 2000 76 kg of explosives planted near Sheikh Lutfor Rahman College at Kotalipara was recovered. Sheikh Hasina was due to address a rally two days later and she was saved again for the eighth time.
Again explosive planted under Rupsha Bridge in Khulna to kill her during inauguration of the bridge was found on May 29 in 2001.
On September 25 in 2001 an attempt was made to kill Sheikh Hasina when she went to Sylhet for election campaign. A bomb exploded near the meeting place in which two people died.
In the eleventh attempt a Juba Dal goon Khalid Bin Hedayet attacked Sheikh Hasina's motorcade on March 4 at Naogaon. On her way to the venue of a rally Sheikh Hasina's motorcade came under attack at Kalaroa in Satkhira on September 29 in 2002. A gun attack on a motorcade to kill Sheikh Hasina at Gournadi in Barisal by the then BNP-Jamaat cadres was foiled on April 2 in 2004.
Another heinous grenade attack on the rally of the then opposition AL at Bangabandhu Avenue was made on August 21 in 2004. The gruesome attack was launched soon after the Awami League President Sheikh Hasina finished her speech. At least 13 grenades were thrown from the rooftops of a nearby building which left 24 leaders and activists, including wife of late President Zillur Rahman and Mahila Awami League chief Ivy Rahman and 300 others injured.
AL, an opposition party at the time, alleged that the BNP-led government diverted the course of investigation and staged a drama of Joj Mia, a vagabond, through filing a case against him.
Apart from these, Sheikh Hasina was also victim of slow poisoning in food during military-backed caretaker government during her incarceration from July 16 in 2007 to June 11 in 2008.
Another conspiracy also took place against her in December 2011 by the killers of Bangabandhu. To materialize the plot, a military coup was organized, which, however, turned futile as the conspiracy was leaked out and some of the conspirators nabbed.
Another attempt was made on her life in the later part of 2014 through a group of women suicide bombers. The plot was unearthed during interrogation of some extremists arrested in neighbouring India in connection with Bardwan explosion in West Bengal. Before materializing the plot, the whole story was revealed by leading Indian media including the Times of India.
The next attempt was supposed to be made by activists of the outlawed JMB who tried to attack Sheikh Hasina's motorcade while she was going to Suhrawardy Udyan to address a public rally on March 7 in 2015.
Another conspiracy was made to assassinate Sheikh Hasina sometimes in 2011 in cooperation with a Sri Lankan extremist outfit in association of an inimical state of Bangladesh. That was also planned to materialize by suicide squads and to attain the objective, advance payment was also made to the Sri Lankan terrorist group. But that attempt failed as members of the suicide squad were killed in a road accident on their way to Kolkata Airport.
Courtesy: The Daily Observer