Rivalry between the ruling and the opposition parties is inevitable in politics, but it is utterly unacceptable that attempts will be made to make the opposition leaderless, a special court observed in its verdict in the August 21 grenade attack cases yesterday.
"In a democratic state, whichever party comes to power, it has to try its best to establish democracy by applying a liberal policy towards the opposition party," said Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 Judge Shahed Nuruddin.
But a ruling party's attempt to reap political benefits by killing opposition leaders cannot be a manifestation of democratic thoughts, he said.
"General people don't want such politics," said the judge as he pronounced the judgment in the two cases over the grisly grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004.
The court sentenced former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and 18 others to death for their roles in the grenade attack that killed 24 people and injured scores. Acting BNP chairperson Tarique Rahman, along with 18 others, was jailed for life.
The attack, one of the most shocking political crimes in the country's history, has had a deep impact on the country's politics and widened the political division further.
In its verdict, the court talked about the country's political atmosphere since the 1971 Liberation War.
It said the defeated forces of 1971 attempted to diminish the spirit of the war and halt development of the newly independent country by killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members.
Following Bangabandhu's assassination on August 15, 1975, four national leaders were murdered inside a prison through a conspiracy.
"But the conspiracy did not stop. It continued," the court said.
Later, an evil attempt was made on August 21, 2004 to make the AL leaderless, it said.
With a code "Sheikh Hasina will be served a light breakfast", some home-grown militants with the help of international militant groups launched the attack, he said.
"Specialised lethal weapon Arges grenades, which are used in wars, were blasted in front of the Awami League's central office on 23 Bangabandhu Avenue in broad daylight with the help of the then state machinery."
The judge put forward some questions -- "Why was such lethal weapon used?"
"Does politics mean carrying out a heinous attack on an opposition party? [It was] not a mere attack, it was an attempt to make a party leaderless."
The judge said people want to have a clear idea about a political party's planning, policy and ideology by attending its rallies.
But if this trend of attacking and killing political leaders and common people continues, people will lose interest in politics, he said.
The judge also mentioned the bomb attacks on ex-finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and Hazrat Shahjalal's shrine in Sylhet, and blasts at Ramna Batamul, and said the court does not want recurrence of such barbaric attacks.
He also talked about painful experiences that the prosecution witnesses, victims and their family members had narrated before the court.
The judge referred to prosecution witnesses Nazmul Hassan Papon and his wife's accounts of how Papon's mother Ivy Rahman, an AL leader, died in excruciating pain.
He also mentioned that one of the survivors, Nila Chowdhury, has been leading a miserable life with splinters inside her body.
"The court thinks that recurrence of such heinous and shameful incidents can be stopped by giving exemplary punishment to the accused," he added.