Vol. 5 Num 249 Sat. February 05, 2005  
Front Page

Hundreds line up in spontaneous protest
Agitation to continue, says Asma Kibria

People of all walks of life took to streets yesterday protesting the killing of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and demanded punishment of the killers.

The unprecedented 30-minute protest from 3:00pm to 3:30pm drew spontaneous participation of people across the country at the call of the family of Kibria.

Led by Asma Kibria, widow of the slain Awami League lawmaker, people lined up in hundreds holding one another's hands on the road in front of Kibria's Dhanmondi residence in the capital.

Leading intellectuals, political, cultural and human rights activists, teachers, students, professionals, housewives and the commoners joined the silent protest at the heinous killing.

Kibria, his nephew and three Awami League (AL) activists were killed in a grenade attack on an AL rally at Baidderbazar in Habiganj on January 27.

"The spontaneous participation of all of you has given the confidence that we are not alone and we will be able to do something," Asma Kibria, also an eminent artist, said.

"We will continue our protests until the arrest of the criminals," she said in an emotion- charged voice while talking to reporters at the end of the programme.

People in other cities and towns also joined the protests to express their hatred for the killers and solidarity with Kibria's family in the next course of action.

Overwhelmed by the mass response to the programme, Asma Kibria declared that she would not back home until killers of her husband are punished.

She announced a similar programme to be observed on February 12.

In Dhaka, the participants that also included senior citizens, women and children, formed a human chain from Jigatola to Dhanmondi Road No 27 through Sat Masjid Road.

Asma Kibria and other family members, carrying black placards and portraits of the slain leader, stood in silence behind a black banner that read "We are resentful, we are shocked".

Kibria's son Dr Reza Kibria, daughter Dr Nazli Kibria, sisters Ashrafi Siddiqui and Sharifa Musabbir, daughter-in-law Rina Kibria and grandson Subhas Imtiaz joined the protests.

"No false excuse is acceptable in the name of so-called investigation," read another placard carried by the Kibria family while another one read: "Nation wants to know the motive of killing Kibria… People want security of their lives".

Many participants carried black banners and waved small black flags while others held portraits of Kibria and placards inscribed with slogans demanding the trial of the killers.

Rabeya Khatun, an 84-year-old freedom fighter, came from Lalmonirhat to join the protest and said, "I am here only to protest the killing of a freedom fighter."

"We will be in streets along with Asma Kibria," said one demonstrator from Mirpur. "We're here because we want the government to realise that people are really upset."

Awami League lawmaker Faruq Khan said, "We want to show the government that people of Bangladesh are not insensible, they want a change of this type of rule."

Waiving a small black flag, Rafiquzzman from Mohammadpur joined the protests along with his wife and four-year-old son Dinar. "This gathering sends the message to the criminals that we are united," he said.

His wife Naznin added, "I don't know if it will have any impact. But we at least want to show that this can't be given up easily."

Eminent artists Hashem Khan and Kaiyum Chowdhury, Prof Anisuzzaman, Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Opposition Chief Whip Abdus Shahid, AL lawmakers ASHK Sadique, Rahmat Ali and Dr Abdur Razzak joined the programme in front of Kibria's residence.

Former Dhaka University (DU) Vice-chancellor Prof AK Azad Chowdhury, DU Teachers Association President Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique and General Secretary Dr Akhtaruzzaman and dozens of DU teachers joined the protests carrying a black banner.

Leading women rights activists Hamida Hossain, Sultana Kamal and Shirin Akhter also expressed solidarity with the unique protest.

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) leaders wearing black badges and carrying black flags took part in the programme in front of party office in Purana Paltan.

Leaders and workers of the Workers Party of Bangladesh stood also in Purana Paltan.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) staged a human chain in front of GPO, while Jatiya Nari Jote and JSD front organisation leaders joined the protests on Satmasjid Road.

At a brief rally before the programme, JSD President Hasanul Huq Inu called upon all to take a bold stand against the anti-liberation forces.

Sammilito Peshajibi Parishad, a professional body, stood in silence at Jigatola while members of Sylhet Division Development Action Council carried a symbolic coffin at the North Gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque with black flags in their hands.

The organisations that participated in the protests are Sammilito Ainjibi Samonnoy Parishad, Prajanma '71, Swadhinota Chikitsak Parishad, Dhaka Theatre, Awami Sangskritik Forum, Sonar Bangla Jubo Forum, Muktijoddha Prajanma Command, people from Habiganj residing in Dhaka, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Mahila Awami League, Jubo Mahila League and Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists.

At the end of yesterday's demonstration, Asma Kibria announced fresh programmes to protest the grisly killing of her husband and four others.

She called upon all to take part in a similar programme in districts across the country for half an hour from 4.30pm on February 12.

Asma Kibria also urged the Bangladesh expatriates in different countries to observe one-hour 'black flag demonstrations' on February 13 peacefully.

Addressing a press briefing at her residence, she also announced a mass signature campaign and urged people to form 20-member committees at all districts to collect signatures.

The programmes will be co-ordinated from late Kibria's Dhanmondi residence.

Our Staff Correspondent from Chittagong reports: Responding to the call of Asma Kibria, people staged a peaceful protest against the Habiganj grenade attack here yesterday.

After joining the 30-minute demonstrations from 3:00pm, they also held rallies and brought out processions in different parts of the port city.

People from different walks of life as well as political activists and professionals spontaneously took part in the programme carrying black flags.

The leaders and activists of Awami League and its allies stood on the road stretching from Shaheed Minar to Darul Fazal Market.

The protestors also formed the human chain in Jamal Khan and GEC crossing area.

City Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, AL leaders Ataur Rahman Khan Kaiser, MA Mannan, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain led the party activists in the programme.

Eminent personalities including Dr Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, Prof Jamal Nazrul Islam, Dr Anupam Sen and Dr Abu Yusuf Alam also took part in the demonstration.

A condolence meeting was held on the Shaheed Minar premises while a mourning procession was brought out that paraded different roads of the city.

Journalists of Chittagong also took part in the protests in front of Chittagong Press Club.

Our JU correspondent reports: About a hundred teachers, students and journalists of Jahangirnagar University (JU) yesterday stood on the Dhaka-Aricha highway for 30 minutes to protest the killing of Kibria and countrywide attacks on the progressive forces.

Our Rajshahi correspondent reports: Leaders and workers of Awami League, left-leaning parties and professional bodies joined the protests at the call of the family of Kibria.

AL leaders and workers held a protest rally at Laxmipur crossing in the city while city AL staged a sit-in at Shaheb Bazar blocking the road for an hour.

Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, pro-liberation Doctors' Association, Muktijuddho Pathagar and various social and cultural bodies also staged demonstrations at Shaheb Bazar.

The protestors brought out a huge procession at 4:00pm to mourn the death of Kibria.

Hundreds of people line up on the streets in the capital yesterday afternoon staging a peaceful protest against the killing of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and four others in the January 27 grenade attack in Habiganj. PHOTO: STAR