Vol. 4 Num 271 Tue. March 02, 2004  
Front Page

Intellectuals for erasing communal forces
Dhaka turns into protest ground on Azad attack

Protesting the attack on Prof. Humayun Azad, writers, litterateurs, teachers, intellectuals and professionals yesterday urged the progressive political parties to forge an alliance to topple the government and get rid of fundamentalist and communal cliques in society.

At a protest rally co-organised by South Asian People's Union against Fundamentalism and Communalism and Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, they asked all progressive political parties who nurture true spirit of the Liberation War to implement a countrywide hartal called for March 6.

Instead of registering only verbal protests, the non-communal, progressive and secular political parties should take effective measures to stand up to fascist, communal and fundamentalist forces.

They accused the government of harbouring 'evil forces' and urged the people to take to the street to force the BNP-led coalition government out of office.

Presiding over the rally at Dhanmondi Women's Voluntary Association Auditorium in Dhaka, eminent poet Shamsur Rahman said, "We can no longer survive clinging on to books and pens. We have to think of some new things."

He said the intellectual community should come forward to helping people force their way out of such a unfortunate state and backwardness.

Professor Kabir Chowdhury said, "This government has the typical characteristics of a fascist government. It should be unseated. We can no longer wait for the political parties to unite. All progressive people with good sense must unite now."

Professor Mustafa Nur-ul-Islam also urged the political parties to unite. "Please forget your differences and decide what should be done. Trust us, we are with you."

"The country has been taken over by barbarians and seized by rajakars," writer and playwright Syed Shamsul Haq noted. He alleged that Khaleda Zia (BNP chief) and Motiur Rahman Nizami (Jamaat-e-Islami chief) instigated the attack on Prof Azad and urged the teacher community to observe the general strike and abstain from work like the teachers of Dhaka University.

Prof Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir, drawing attention to the attack on Prof Azad and other writers and journalists, said, "Armed people have waged a war against the unarmed people. (And) Khaleda-Nizami clique are aiding and abetting the armed people."

He urged the people to come out on the streets and seize the Secretariat.

Artist Prof Rafiqun Nabi, Prof Mir Mobassher Ali, former DU vice-chancellor Prof Azad Chowdhury, Prof Ajay Roy, Prof ASM Arefin Siddiqui, writer Shahriar Kabir, Prof Muntasir Mamun, Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury and Dr Kazi Faruk Ahmed also spoke at the rally.

Our Dhaka University (DU) correspondent reports: The DU campus continued to boil with rage yesterday over Friday's grisly attack on Dr Humayun Azad.

Throughout the day, the campus roared with rallies and protest demonstrations where thousands of students, teachers, political leaders and activists reiterated their demand for the resignation of Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury.

Demonstrators also burnt an effigy of the home minister for failing to prevent the attack on the eminent writer and urged the government to ensure the best possible treatment for Azad and the security of his family.

The DU Teachers' Association (Duta) observed a token sit-in on the campus.

Leaders of political parties and student organisations, cultural and human-rights activists, members of the civil society and professional bodies gathered at a big rally at the Central Shaheed Minar organised by Sammilita Sangskritik Jote.

"We must oust this communal and fundamentalist government that killed the country's intellectuals in 1971 and has now attacked Dr Azad," Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil told the rally.

Monzurul Ahsan Khan, Rashed Khan Menon, Hasanul Haque Inu, Asaduzzaman Noor, Poet Syed Shamsul Haque, Kazi Zafar Ahmed, Abed Khan, Duta President Arefin Siddique, Kamal Lohani, Ramendu Majumder, Mamunur Rashid and Ayesha Khanam also addressed the rally.

Language veteran Abdul Matin, Prof Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Prof Anu Muhammad, Prof Akmal Hossain, poet Samudra Gupta, film producer Shahin Akhtar, dramatist Raihan Chowdhury and writers Nurunnabi, Moshiul Alam and Benzin Khan addressed another protest rally in front of the National Museum and demanded immediate arrest of and punishment to the real culprits.

Students under the banner of 'Muktachinta Rakkha O Aganatantrik Shokti Protirodh Humayan Azad Mancha' will observe a token sit-in today at the foot of the Aparajeyo Bangla.

Demanding arrest of the real culprits, the AL-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League during a press conference at the DU Journalists' Association yesterday threatened an indefinite strike at all educational institutions across the country if the government did not release within 48 hours BCL leader Abbas arrested in connection with the attack on Dr Azad.

JSD (Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal)-backed BCL and Bangladesh Chhatra Moitri have called a strike at all educational institutions on March 3. They will also stage countrywide demonstrations today.

Left-leaning 11-party alliance, Bangladesh Workers Party and the JSD also held separate protest rallies in the city.

Members of the Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, a cultural group, top, stage a sit-in and fine arts students place symbolic coffins, bottom, on the steps of the Central Shaheed Minar during a demonstration yesterday against an attack on frontline writer Humayun Azad. PHOTO: STAR