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Ramna Batamul blast explosive case gets stuck in absence of witnesses

Come Saturday it will be 18 years since the bombing at Dhaka’s Ramna Batamul during the celebration of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of a Bengali new year, on April 14, 2001, but the case lodged under the Explosive Substances Act over the incident moved a little as the witnesses are not coming to testify despite repeated summons and warrants issued by the court.

“We have been able to examine only 26 out of 84 witnesses in around five years in the case lodged under the Explosive Substances Act. The witnesses are not appearing before the court even after they are issued non-bailable warrants,” Dhaka Metropolitan public prosecutor Abdullah Abu said on Friday.

He said the accused and the witnesses in both the murder case and the case lodged under the explosive act are same; and as the proceedings of the two cases did not go on concurrently, the proceedings of the second case have got delayed.

Echoing his counterpart’s statement, Defence Counsel Faruk Ahammed too blamed the absence of witnesses for dilly-dallying in the case proceedings. “We want to see the quick disposal of the case. The court, through its verdict, would decide who is guilty and who is innocent.”

DMP Deputy Commissioner (media and public relations) said, “We are executing the orders, through which summons and non-bailable warrants were issued against the witnesses. As the witnesses are respected persons, we are requesting them to appear before the court. It would be disrespectful for them to be arrested and produced before court.”

A total of two cases – – one for killing and the other under the explosives act – were filed over the bombing that left 10 innocent persons dead and about 50 others injured on April 14, 2001.

The additional metropolitan sessions’ judge court on June 23, 2014, sentenced eight people to death and six others to life imprisonment in the murder case. Banned militant outfit Harqat-ul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) chief Mufti Abdul Hannan was one of those sentenced to death in the case. He was executed in 2017 in another case, BSS reported.

On September 14 of the same year, Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 framed charges against 14 people, including Mufti Hannan, in the other case filed under the explosives act over the Ramna Batamul carnage.

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