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Bangladesh: Movement Condemning War Criminals Spreads

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By A Correspondent

Media reports from Dhaka said: The people’s movement against war criminals has spread across Bangladesh as hundreds of thousands of people joined in a grand rally in Dhaka, the capital city. A report in Daily Star Online, English daily from Dhaka, said: Protesters from the grand rally on February 8, 2013 afternoon demanded death penalty for all war criminals including Abdul Quader Mollah and a ban on the politics of Jamaat and Shibir.

The report headlined “Shahbagh grand rally demands ban on Jamaat” said: "Today we are united on a single demand. We liberated the country in 1971 and today you will liberate it once again from Razakars and Jamaat-Shibir," Mili Rahman, widow of Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman, one of the most valiant heroes of the Liberation War. "It is the happiest day of my life. I am here to offer my apology to you. I wrote on newspapers that the new generation only clinks on like on facebook and writes on blog sites, but they don't take to the streets. You have proved me wrong and I thank you all for this," noted writer Prof Md Zafar Iqbal said in his electrifying speech before thousands of protesters. Prof Dr Anwar Hossain, vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, BSMMU VC Prof Pran Gopal Dutta, Dhaka University VC Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique and cultural personality Hasan Imam, among other, spoke at the grand rally.

The report added: People irrespective of gender, caste and religion, gathered at the Sahabagh intersection to join the grand rally that began around 3:00pm.

The report said: Similar protests have also been reported from different countries including Saudi Arabia, America and the United Kingdom, said the report. The protesters started staging demonstrations vowed to continue the protests until the demand for ensuring capital punishment for war criminals are met.

Earlier in the morning, the report said, thousands of people staged demonstration at the Shahbagh for the fourth consecutive day that was initiated by the 'Bloggers and Online Activist Network' on Tuesday soon after the International Crimes Tribunal-2 awarded life term to the Jamaat assistant secretary general. The demonstrators are staging protest, singing patriotic songs and staging drama against the war criminals. The protesters including hundreds of students, activists and ordinary citizens were also chanting various anti-Jamaat-Shibir slogans since morning. Their sit-in gained momentum on Thursday with spontaneous participation of thousands of people from all walks of life.
Different political parties, including ruling Awami League and its student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League, Jubo League, Workers' Party of Bangladesh, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal and Ganotantrik Bam Morcha expressed their solidarity with the protest.

In another report headlined “Vow to boycott Jamaat institutions” the daily said: Shahbagh protesters took an oath to carry on their movement demanding death penalty for all war criminals including Abdul Quader Mollah.

Calling for a ban on the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir, the demonstrators pledged to boycott all business and social organizations, including media outlets, of the party. Imran, a lead organizer of the demonstration administered the oath to thousands of people, mostly youths, at the grand rally.

The report added: People from all walks of life including women took the oath to remain on the streets until the government bans Jamaat-Shibir politics and put a ban on their business establishments including their bank, coaching centers, media outlets. The protesters were reminded that Jamaat-Shibir uses the money earned from these business establishments in subversive activities in the country.

They, the report said, pledged to mount pressure on the government to arrest Jamaat-Shibir leaders and activists for committing sedition by threatening to wage a civil war in the country.

Another report by bdnews24.comsaid: The grand rally started with a sea of humanity all around the intersection. The rally began with the national anthem. People at the rally again voiced the death sentence demand for all war criminals.

The report headlined “Masses rally for death sentence to all war criminals” said: Since the morning, people from all walks of life were seen heading towards the grand rally venue from various parts of the capital in numerous vehicles and in small groups carrying the national flag, musical instruments, banners and placards. Many came with their children to attend the rally. Freedom fighters came carrying the red flag of the Freedom Fighters Command Council.
Organizers of the rally informed the people of the protest programs and mass rallies held in different districts all across the country.

The report by Ashik Hossain and Golam Mujtaba said: Fine Arts students were drawing the national flags and writing slogans on the faces and bodies of the enthusiastic protesters.

Different organizations expressed solidarity with the movement. The demonstrations sparked a string of protests all around the country in the last two days.

Hundreds of protesters have stayed there day and night for the last three days at the busy intersection singing, reciting poems, shouting slogans, screening films and making speeches, said the report.

Another report headlined “Teeming thousands chant ‘Hang them all’” said: The ‘grand rally’ concluded with a vow to spread the ongoing movement from Teknaf to Tetulia. The rally organizers repeatedly reaffirmed their resolve to take their movement forward until all war criminals were handed down the capital punishment.

The report added: An official of the Detective Branch (DB) of police said that some 250,000 people joined the mass rally.

The protesters, said the report, grew in numbers and have been keeping candle-lit vigil for the last four nights.

The report mentioned that Jamaat had opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971. The party had sided with Pakistani troops during the war when officially three million people were killed, and the fundamentalist party allegedly masterminded the murders of the country's leading intelligentsia including professors, doctors and journalists.


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