Reports on plot to murder PM Hasina baseless, motivated: Dhaka

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Dhaka, Sept 24: Prime Minister’s Office of Dhaka on Sunday dismissed Indian media reports claiming there was a plot to assassinate Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on August 24.  “The reports are confusing, motivated and baseless,” said a press release signed by Mohammad Ashraful Alam, deputy press secretary to the PMO.

The PMO requested the media to “exercise caution and judgement in distributing such confusing information that goes against the interest of national security”.  “On September 23, 2017, some news outlets of Bangladesh quoted a foreign television channel and an international online media to report of a failed attempt to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on August 24, 2017,” the press release read.  “Some television channels aired programmes and talk shows associating a special force with the so-called failed attempt on the life of honourable prime minister,” it read.  “It is hereby to inform that the news of a failed attempt on the life of honourable prime minister on August 24, 2017 is completely baseless, confusing and motivated.” The PMO release added.

Earlier, media outlets reported that a Dhaka court has sentenced 10 people to death over a plot to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2000. According to those reports, the Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 of Dhaka also sentenced nine others to 20 years in prison. The controversial news report added that the convicts had hatched a plot to kill Ms. Hasina by planting a high-powered explosive device at an open ground at her village home in south-western Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally. Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally.

Of the 25 accused, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami chief Mufti Abdul Hannan was executed in another case in April 2017 following his conviction in a case concerning a grenade attack on former British envoy Anwar Choudhury in Sylhet. The court also sentenced one to life imprisonment and three others to 14 years in prison in the attempted murder case. They were also fined Tk10,000 each, in default of which they will have to serve an extra year in prison. The report said.

Foreign media also ran a story that PM Hasina also survived another assassination plot on August 21, 2004, as an Opposition leader, following a grenade attack in Dhaka which killed 23 party leaders and workers. One of the key suppliers of the grenades used to attack Ms. Hasina, Maulana Tajuddin, fled the country after the attack and is currently staying in South Africa. The Bangladesh government is trying to conclude a treaty with South Africa to expedite Maulana’s extradition. However, the process of extradition may face complications as South African law does not support death penalty. It claimed.

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