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Home  Worldwide  Bangladesh  August, 2004  Ensure transparent, quick investigation
Ensure transparent, quick investigation

The Daily Star
Vol. 5 Num 94Fri. August 27, 2004

Front Page

Ensure transparent, quick investigation
EU presidency asks govt about grenade blasts

Staff Correspondent

The presidency of the European Union has asked the government to ensure that the probe into Saturday’s grenade attack on an Awami League (AL) rally is transparent and without political interference, enjoying the trust of all parties.

Condemning the attempt to assassinate the main opposition AL’s President Sheikh Hasina, the EU presidency expressed its alarm at ‘further escalation of political terrorism’ that has taken place with the recent spate of bomb blasts in the country.

“The Presidency of the EU calls upon the government of Bangladesh to promptly investigate the attack in a fair and transparent manner,” it said in a declaration yesterday.

“Failure to prevent and satisfactorily resolve these attacks will contribute to a climate of impunity for such acts,” it added.

The declaration was handed over to Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan by Dutch Ambassador Kees Beemsterboer, who led a 10-member team of EU heads of mission in Dhaka.

“We (EU heads of mission) are deeply concerned over the recent attack on the Leader of the Opposition, Sheikh Hasina, and also over the increased number of violent attacks that stay unpunished,” Beemsterboer said on what the delegation conveyed to Morshed.

Beemsterboer also said, “The EU heads of mission expect that the Government of Bangladesh will start a thorough investigation in the recent attacks and bring those responsible to justice.”

Asked if UK had offered any help to Bangladesh to probe the series of grenade attacks, British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, said, “We as friends of Bangladesh are always ready to offer assistance to it on any level or a specific issue, if requested.”

Another diplomat who attended the meeting, said, “Your country is facing a turbulent time, and we are very worried. The government is also very serious about getting to the bottom of this attack and providing proper security for the opposition leader.” He however sought anonymity.

After the meeting, Morshed told the media the government has informed the EU delegates it has more than doubled Hasina’s security and taken necessary steps to hunt down the perpetrators of last Saturday’s attack.

The EU delegation also conveyed the EU presidency’s expectation from Bangladesh authorities to provide minority groups with adequate protection. The delegation expressed its concern to Morshed over “The expected siege of the central mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Dhaka” today, one source said.

Morshed said the EU delegation appreciated the government’s previous efforts to protect the minorities and asked it also to look into why some religious groups are vindictive to the Ahmadiyyas who have peacefully lived in the country for centuries.

Members of the delegation included Charge d’affaires (CDA) of European Commission Anne Marchal, Swedish CDA Anne Bruzelius, Danish CDA Tom B Hansen, French CDA Jean Romnicianu, German CDA Hermann Nicolai, Italian Deputy Head of Mission Sandro Pennacchio, Political Officer of British High Commission Allan Shaw and Adv. Governance of the Netherlands Embassy Brigitta Smits.

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