“The very birth of Bangladesh has been insulted by this verdict. How many killings should take place for a judge to pronounce capital punishment?" said eminent historian Muntassir Mamoon. He said he was frustrated and aggrieved by such a verdict.
"We have seen capital punishment for relatively less offences, but here we find that less punishment has been given for grave offences," said Mamoon, a campaigner of war crimes trial.
The verdict has given rise to questions among people, he added.
“We didn't expect this [verdict]. Like me, martyrs' families are upset," said noted cultural activist and freedom fighter Nasiruddin Yousuff.
The verdict is not satisfactory, he said,adding that Quader Mollah was involved in mass killing in 1971 and he should have been given capital punishment.
DR MA HASAN
“What if the convict came out of jail with the change of government? What will happen to the witnesses and those who champion the trial?" asked MA Hasan, a freedom fighter and a war crimes researcher.
The judgment does not reflect the aspirations of the freedom fighters who are expressing their resentment over the verdict, he added.
According to him, the judgment will give rise to two questions: first, why the accused did not get the highest punishment although the charge of genocide against him was proven and second, how effectively the prosecution fought the case.
Given the culture of impunity in the country and the magnitude of Quader Mollah's crimes, he should have been given capital punishment, said Hasan, also convener of the War Crimes Facts Finding Committee.
Eminent educationist Prof Anisuzzaman said he was happy that some of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War were being tried.
"I haven't asked for any particular punishment. I am happy they are being tried, and the judges in their wisdom are handing out what they deem appropriate punishment," he told The Daily Star.
Mofidul Haq, writer and one of the trustees of the Liberation War Museum, said he was frustrated with the verdict.
Quader Mollah committed brutal crimes during the Liberation War which is unthinkable, he added.
However, he said the verdict was an example how unbiased the tribunal was. "None can question the neutrality of the tribunal after this verdict."
"He [Quader Mollah] was proven guilty in five out of six charges brought against him. We expected capital punishment for those crimes," said Prof Anwar Hossain, vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University.
Saying that he was not happy at all with the verdict, Anwar Hossain said the government should appeal at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the verdict.