ANI Photo | “Attack on democratic process”: Bangladesh Foreign Minister on Benapole Express train tragedy ahead of polls

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has called the arsonist attack on the intercity Benapole Express train in Gopibagh, which claimed the lives of four people, an attack on the “democratic process and a grave violation of the rights of citizens.”
He stressed that the deliberate act of setting a train on fire where innocent passengers were subjected to unimaginable horror is an “act of absolute abomination.”
attack on democratic process bangladesh foreign minister on benapole express train tragedy ahead of polls 1 – The News Mill
In a statement, he stated, “It is an affront to democracy, an attack on the democratic process, and a grave violation of the rights of our citizens. This deliberate act of setting a train on fire, where innocent passengers were subjected to unimaginable horror and forced to endure the unforgivable sight of fellow humans being burned alive, is an act of absolute abomination.”
The incident comes in the backdrop of January 7 general elections and amid calls from the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for a 48-hour nationwide ‘hartal’ (general strike) commencing on Saturday with demand of resignation from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “illegal government.” (ANI)
“This blatant attempt to instil fear and panic among the masses is an affront to the spirit of our democracy and the enthusiastic participation of our citizens in the upcoming election. This act of setting a train on fire, with people burning inside is characteristic of the pattern of violence that we have witnessed before as well. This has shocked the conscience of our whole society – and indeed – the whole world,” he added.
Momen vowed that the perpetrators behind the act would be brought to justice. He stated, “We will leave no stone unturned to find out the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Each one will be brought to justice and exemplary punishment shall be rendered to the culprit(s), according to the law of the land.”
He noted that the arsonists set the train on fire when the people were preparing for national elections. Calling it a “deliberate and heinous act,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister said miscreants intentionally set ablaze the Benapole Express.
“When the people of Bangladesh are eagerly preparing for a festive national election – a horrifying act of arson took place on the evening of January 5, 2024, when the Benapole Express, a symbol of connectivity and progress, was intentionally set ablaze by miscreants,” he stated.
AK Abdul Momen said the incident took place at approximately 9 pm (local time) around the Gopibag Kachabazar area when the train was heading to Kamalapur Railway Station. He said four people, including two children died and scores of people have been injured in the fire that was
In the statement, he stated, “This reprehensible incident, undoubtedly orchestrated by those with malicious intent, strikes at the very heart of our democratic values. The timing of this tragedy, just a day before the election scheduled for January 7, 2024, shows an absolute intention to hinder the festivity, safety and security of the democratic processes of the country.”
After arsonists set fire to an intercity Benapole Express train in Gopibagh, the Bangladesh CID, along with a forensic team, arrived at the Kamlapur Railway station where the railway coaches are being shifted for the investigation. The CID is gathering evidence from the train that was set on fire.
The pre-poll violence occurred on Friday at around 9:05 PM, killed four people. Officials called the incident a “planned attack.” The CID team collected DNA samples from the relatives of the victims to identify the bodies, Bangladesh-based The Dhaka Tribune reported.
Reportedly, seven firefighting units were brought in to control the fire, according to the duty officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, Rakibul Hasan, The Dhaka Tribune reported.
Following the incident, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Additional Commissioner (Crime and Operations) Mahid Uddin alleged that the Benapole Express train fire was a “planned attack.” The incident happened just two days ahead of Bangladesh’s general elections.”We cannot say for sure who carried out the arson attack but it is sabotage for sure,” he said.
The official added that those who carried out the attack will be brought under the law. “Such behaviour towards common people, children and women is inhumane,” he said.
He further said that the people who committed the crime might have disguised themselves as passengers, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune. Moreover, Ashraf Hossain, sub-inspector of Dhaka Railway Police Station, said that they received a fire report from the emergency service number around 9:07 pm.

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