Ramna Batamul bombing case awaits High Court hearing

It appeared at No. 216 on the cause list of the bench of justices M Enayetur Rahim and Amir Hossain on Wednesday even as the Bengalis were preparing to celebrate another Bengali New Year on Thursday with much festivity.

The High Court will go into summer vacation from Apr 17 to 28.  Then there will be weekend and the May Day holidays. The court proceedings will resume only on May 2.

State counsel Deputy Attorney General Sheikh AKM Moniruzzaman Kabir hopes the court will be able to hear the case after the vacation.

About the murder case’s latest status, he told bdnews24.com that the convicts’ death reference, appeals of seven accused and jail appeal of six more were sent to the bench on Apr 6 for a hearing.

The case was included in the cause list the next day.

“This bench generally hears the death references and these sort of appeals on Thursdays. I hope this case’s hearing will start on the first week of May,” he said.

Ten people were killed after a bomb had exploded during leading cultural troupe Chhayanaut’s programme at the capital’s Ramna Batamul in the morning of Apr 14, 2001.

Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI) top leader Mufti Abdul Hannan and 13 other militants were accused in the murder case filed over the bomb attack.

A Dhaka court on Jun 23, 2014, had sentenced to death eight of the accused and awarded life imprisonment to six others in the case.

But their sentences are yet to be carried out as the case has not been disposed of.

Those sentenced to death are Hannan, Maulana Akbar Hossain, Arif Hasan Sumon, Maulana Tajuddin, Hafiz Jahangir Alam Badr, Maulana Abu Bakr alias Hafiz Selim Hawladar, Maulana Abdul Hai and Maulana Shafiqur Rahman.

Shahadatullah Jewel, Maulana Sabbir, Shaokat Hossain alias Sheikh Farid, Maulana Abdur Rauf, Maulana Abu Taher and Maulana Yahia were awarded life in prison.

Tajuddin, Jahangir, Abu Bakr, Shafiqur and Abdul Hai are still absconding.

According to the case details, the militants had targeted the Pahela Baishakh event as they considered it ‘anti-Islamic’.

Nine people were killed on the spot and another died in the hospital.

Police filed two cases that day, one for murder and another under Explosives Act, which is still pending trial.

After that, the case changed hands of seven investigation officers for nearly eight years before the CID finally pressed charges against 14 people in the twin cases on Nov 29, 2008.

Then, the cases were sent to Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court on Jan 1, 2009. The court framed charges against HuJI chief Mufti Hannan and his 13 associates on Apr 16, 2009.

Later, the home ministry sent the murder case to Speedy Trial Tribunal-3 and the explosives case to Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 for quick disposal.

But as the trial in the murder case did not end within 135 days, it was sent back to the sessions court.

Witness deposition in the case ended on Oct 23, 2013. On Nov 10 the accused gave their statements.

Though the chargesheet named 84 people as prosecution witnesses, the court only recorded the statements of 61.