Shahbagh upheaval continues

Strikers shout slogans at Shahbagh intersection, the cradle of the ongoing popular uprising, in the capital on Sunday. Bayazid Akter
Strikers shout slogans at Shahbagh intersection, the cradle of the ongoing popular uprising, in the capital on Sunday. Bayazid Akter

A new dimension was added to the popular uprising at Shahbagh intersection on demand for death penalty of war criminals as the national parliament gave it recognition on the sixth day, although the opposition politicians grew louder in criticism.

As the youth-led movement was a groundswell of support from home and abroad, the protesters Sunday made a fresh vow not to leave the cradle of the mass upsurge until capital punishment to all identified war criminals, including Quader Mollah, is ensured.

They built a symbolic gallows at Shahbagh intersection, now known as ‘Swadhinata Prajanma Chattar’, while the government moved to amend the law apparently conceding to the protesters’ strong plea.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni joined the masses to express her solidarity with them in the afternoon, but did not deliver any speech.

Players and members of Bangladesh Cricket Board, led by BCB Chairman Nazmul Hasan Papan, joined hands with the demonstrators at noon and also expressed solidarity.

Protyasha Chowdhury Anupam, a class-five student of Green Herald International School, came to the hot spot with her mother. He said, “I’m demanding capital punishment to all Razakars.”

The Jamaat-Shibir hooliganism is hampering their academic activities, he said. “We want their punishment.”

A five-member delegation of Bloggers and Online Activists’ Network placed a memorandum to Speaker Abdul Hamid in parliament in the afternoon to press their six-point demand, including death sentence to war criminals, an amendment to the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973, ban on Jamaat-Shibir politics and Jamaat-run financial institutions.

They also demanded trial of political parties and organisations that rehabilitated the war criminals and gave them shelter for doing politics in the country.

Spontaneous participants, mostly students from various educational institutions, were gathering at the spot since morning, turning it into a sea of humans in the evening, protesting life sentence of Quader Mollah.

Many participants expressed disappointment over the news that Quader Mollah got the job of gardening at Kashimpur Jail, saying that no flower can bloom at Razakar’s hands as it is a disgrace to flowers.

Many individuals and organisations, including leading national Bangla daily Kaler Kantho, distributed food among the strikers the same day.

Cricketers Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim and Elias Sunny and selector Habibul Bashar Sumon express their solidarity at Prajanma Chattar.

Bangladesh Premier League cricket team Duranta Rajshahi, led by its chairman Mushfiqur Rahman, participated in the sit-in.

Mushfiqur said, “Our team is and will be with the demonstrators until all the Razakars are eliminated from the motherland.”

Duranta Rajshahi would never recruit Pakistani cricketers in the coming years, he reiterated.

Earlier in the morning, cricketer Shahriar Nafiz, captain of Khulna Royal Bengals, joined the non-stop protest.

Comilla University, Narsingdi Textile Institute, Architecture Alumni Association of Buet, Chuadanga Govt College, Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University and Bir Shrestha Nur Mohammad Rifles Public School and College, among several hundred others, also expressed solidarity.

Students from various disciplines of Dhaka University, including Chemistry, Bangla, Mass Communication and Journalism and Political Science, and those of Dhaka City College, Motijheel Ideal and College Viqarunnisa Noon School and College poured onto the place with processions.

A legion of working journalists also echoed voices of the members of the younger generation and put their signatures at a mass-signature campaign outside the National Museum.

They wore badges and placards that read: “We want death by hanging”, “May the movement continue long”, “Please don’t disgrace dog calling the war criminals as dog” and what not.

Many journalists scarified their lives and took up arms during the struggle for liberation and contributed a lot through their mighty pens.

Chanting slogans, the agitators in small groups demanded the death penalty for all Razakars [collaborators of Pakistani occupation force] in a neo-style of movement of the present times.

Various social-cultural bodies handed out anti-Jamaat-Shibir and Razakars leaflets among the participants.

On Tuesday, people of all ages burst out in a wave of protest at the call of blogger and online activists at Shahbagh just hours after the ICT-2 verdict that gave Quader Mollah, assistant secretary-general of Jamaat, life for his wartime crimes.

The online activists’ group gave a clarion call through online social networks to wage protests against the verdict.

Source: Daily Sun

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