Apparently, Daily Star has uncovered what neither the past Caretaker Government nor this Awami League Government could, that the August 21 grenade attack on the then-Leader of the Opposition and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was orchestrated by Lutfozzaman Babar and others in Hawa Bhaban, in presence of a Hawa Bhaban “bigwig.”

Of course, it is hard to imagine why Awami League would not gleefully trumpet any evidence linking senior BNP leaders to any crime, let alone something as horrible as murder, and leave it to Daily Star to break the news. If there was an iota, a trace, or a scintilla of truth to this accusation, this would have come out a long time ago. Awami League MPs have already asked for Khaleda Zia to be arrested for the bomb blast near Fazle Noor Taposh. If there existed any evidence at all linking BNP leaders to the August 21 blast, our brave Home Minister and Home State Minister, and our valiant Commerce Minister, would have flooded the airwaves with that information a long time ago.

Let’s parse the report and see the sources DS tries to attribute:

1. “A highly privileged document in which a top accused of the grenade carnage gave some descriptions about how the killing mission had been organised”

2. “This correspondent talked with investigators and intelligence officials involved with the probe over the last five years”

3. “Detained Salam Pintu”

4. “Huji sources”

5. “An influential Huji leader”

6. “number of officials involved with the investigations”

7. “Former CID inspector Munshi Atiqur Rahman”

8. “Bangla Bhai”

This news report goes against every rule of journalism. It bears the same relationship to journalism that the “chotis” on sale in front of New Market bear to literature. It’s sad that this hack, Julfikar Ali Manik, also writes in the New York Times about Bangladesh. And in Outlook India, about Moeen U. Ahmed’s steely resolve and his plan to build a hospital by auctioning the luxury cars that were seized during the anti-corruption drive.

Of the only two live human beings quoted as source, one of them is Abdul Salam Pintu. Let us see what the Awam League government has been doing with him the past six months. From New Age:

The High Court bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Raisuddin also ordered proper medical treatment of Pintu by specialist physicians.

The court passed the order reprimanding the government and attorney general Mahbubey Alam for remanding Pintu in custody in the case in which the government had sought time for preparation for the hearing .

‘We adjourned the hearing after you [attorney general] sought time. But the petitioner is being tortured in police custody on remand. It is very unfortunate,’ Justice Dastagir Husain told Mahbubey Alam.

Pintu’s counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain drew the court’s attention to the matter saying Pintu had filed a petition seeking bail in the case. The High Court on October 8 adjourned the hearing in the bail petition as the government had sought time. But Pintu was remanded in custody on October 11 for three days for interrogation in the same case.

‘Pintu is being tortured in police custody to extract confessional statement from him,’ the defence counsel said adding that Pintu was taken to Rajarbagh police lines hospital for treatment.

The attorney general, however, tried to defend the government action and said, ‘The grenade attack, which killed 24 people and injured 200 others, including Sheikh Hasina, is very serious after the August 15, 1975 carnage in which Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with his family was killed.’

‘You cannot do whatever you wish just because you have power… Today you have power, but tomorrow you may not have and who knows you won’t be tortured then,’ Justice Dastagir Husain said.

How did Daily Star cover the same story?

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the authorities concerned to interrogate former BNP deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu at the jail gate in the cases against him.

The court also asked the authorities to make arrangements for his treatment, if he (now in Dhaka Central Jail) is ill.

An HC bench comprised of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Rais Uddin came up with the order upon a petition filed by Pintu’s brother Shamsur Rahman Toha on behalf of him.

It was stated in the petition that Pintu was tortured in the name of interrogation while on remand, and he would be taken on further remand.

A Dhaka court on Sunday placed Pintu, accused in two criminal cases in the August 21 grenade attack, on a three-day fresh remand to trace suppliers of Arges grenades used in the carnage that left 23 people dead.

Contacted, Additional Attorney General AKM Zahirul Hoque said Pintu was not tortured while on remand, and the government provides him treatment if he is ill.

Pintu was arrested on January 17 last year in the grenade attack case.

Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain appeared for Pintu.

I think the bias is self-evident.

Of course, Daily Star has had a long love affair with Hawa Bhaban.

The good news is that Daily Star’s readers know they are being lied to. Some of the reader comments, posted on the news report:

Your correspondent dishes out a story planted by CID without verification and providing any concrete evidence. Having a statement purported to have been made by a person under custody is not good enough. DS should be more circumspect with such news reports. Partisan politics should have no role in investigation of this nature.

Thanks for the report. The Daily Star advertises that they do journalism without favour or fear.
So keeping the above slogan in mind I have to ask a question.
Who is this Hawa bhaban bigwig? Why are you scared to print Tarique Rahman’s Name?

Thanks for the story.There is nothing new in this article.
Mr Manik, you just compiled reports which are allready known to the mass people like us. There is nothing new at all. Please, don’t make reports to increase the sale of your daily.
Have courage to speak the truth and give us something more authentic.

As the old saying goes: you can’t fool all the people, all the time.