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Friday, February 22, 2013
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Charge Jamaat For War Crimes

Act before March 26

Youths spur govt; declare fresh programmes till Mar 7 to wind up nonstop 17-day stay-out at Shahbagh

Thousands gather at Shahbagh on Amar Ekushey yesterday to take part in the grand rally and voice their demand for death penalty for all wall criminals and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir. Photo: Rashed Shumon

Issuing an ultimatum to the government to bring war crimes charges against Jamaat-e-Islami and initiate the legal process by March 26 to ban the party, the Shahbagh protesters yesterday announced a series of countrywide programmes beginning today.

The declaration came at a mammoth rally in the capital's Shahbagh in the evening. The rally wound up the nonstop sit-in that began at the intersection on February 5 demanding capital punishment to all the war criminals.

Late at night, Imran H Sarker, a key organiser of the movement, said, "I announce the end of the rally. I request you to go home and we will see you at 10:00am tomorrow [today]."

However, many people were still at the venue around midnight.

As part of the countrywide programmes, special prayers will be held at mosques after Juma prayers as well as at churches, pagodas and temples today.

Organisers told The Daily Star although the protesters would not keep the Shahbagh intersection occupied for 24 hours from today, they will gather at the venue the day before the war crimes tribunal is to deliver a verdict. The aim of this gathering is to resist any possible violence by Jamaat-Shibir.

Yesterday, the 17th day of the protest which coincided with the Amar Ekushey, all eyes were on the "Gonojagoron Mancha" as the movement held its third grand rally.

Hundreds of thousands thronged the Shahbagh intersection, now known as Projonmo Chattar, to join the rally while million others were glued to the TV at home and abroad.

The programmes announced at the rally include holding more grand rallies, demonstrations and cultural programmes at different parts in Dhaka and other divisional cities.

The protesters, who have all along maintained calm and showed respect for all religious beliefs, began yesterday's programme with the recitation of verses from the Holy Scriptures of the four major religions in the country -- the Quran, Gita, Bible and Tripitaka.

After the recitations, thousands of people, irrespective of faith, age, profession and ethnicity, stood as one and sang the national anthem. The rendition of the national anthem and the recitations from the Scriptures showed, once again, that "religion is personal, but the state is for all".

Giving the ultimatum and announcing the programmes, Imran Sarker, said: “We want to clearly state that this Gonojagoron Mancha is firm in its demand for justice for war crimes. We hold nothing against any religion. Rather, our struggle is to end the ill politics of Jamaat-Shibir that exploits religion for political gain."

"With a view to banning politics of Jamaat-Shibir, bring war crimes charges against Jamaat-e-Islami under the amended law [The International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973] and start the legal process by March 26," he added.

The spirited protesters, their mood one of unyielding determination, burst into thunderous cheers as he spoke.

People of from all walks of life, mostly dressed in black and imbued with the spirit of the 1952 Language Movement and the 1971 Liberation War, flocked to the Shahbagh intersection to express their solidarity with the protesters. They chanted fiery slogans throughout the day, demanding capital punishment to all the war criminals.

Protesters carried national flags, banners and placards that read: "Death to Razakars" or "Death to war criminals." Many joined the protest directly from the Shaheed Minar.

The crowd stretched from Matsya Bhaban in the east to Kataban intersection in the west and from Hotel Ruposhi Bangla intersection in the north to TSC in the south.

Protesters took to the streets in the afternoon of February 5, hours after Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes in 1971. Protesters say a life term is too lenient a punishment for Mollah, known as the "Butcher of Mirpur" for his notorious role in the killing of hundreds during the war.

A group of youths, mostly bloggers and online activists, initiated the movement but it soon turned into a people's movement, spreading across the country.

A mass signature campaign will also begin today and continue till March 7 in and outside the country to register people's solidarity with the six-point demand.

“In our veins runs the blood of Shurjoshen and Khudiram. I am here driven by their ideologies,” said Tariq Ali, one of the trustees of the Liberation War Museum.

Jahangirnagar University Vice-chancellor Anwar Hossain, Communist Party of Bangladesh President Mujahidul Islam Selim, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal leader Shirin Akhter, cultural personalities Nasiruddin Yousuff Bachchu, Mamunur Rashid, Sara Zaker, Asaduzzaman Noor, Rokeya Prachi, Ferdousi Majumdar, Ramendra Majumdar, Tropa Majumdar, and journalist Abed Khan, among others, joined the grand rally.

Although attempts were made to co-opt the movement by certain political quarters, the protesters refused to allow any party to do so.

The stage, said the organisers, belonged to the ordinary citizens, activists and bloggers.

As the mass protests continued, grief descended upon Shahbagh as one of their key organisers, Rajib Haidar, was hacked to death on February 14, allegedly by Jamaat-Shibir men. Another protester, Tariqul Islam Shanto, died of a heart attack while taking part in the on February 18.

As the movement gained momentum and spread across the country, Jamaat-Shibir resorted to a smear campaign against the movement, with the help of a few radical Islamist groups in and outside the BNP-led 18-party alliance and media houses.

Terming Projonmo Chattar anti-Islamic, the anti-liberation forces tried to stir controversy and confusion among the general public.

The demonstrators, however, strongly rejected such allegations and the general public, too, dismissed them as fictitious.

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An attempt to ban Jamaat and other Islamist parties is simply ridiculous, unrealistic, irresponsible, imprudent, short- sighted and a bizarre thought. This is a country vastly populated by Muslims (over 90 per cent) and they hold their religion more dearly than mundane affairs. The Islamic scholars (ulemas, muftis, shaykhs, mullahs and so on) serve the spiritual needs of the people 24 hours a day; quite selflessly and are high esteemed amongst common people. They are the ones who maintain and hold Islamic values, traditions and culture on our behalf and transmit the ideology from generation to generation.

: Dr. Iftikhar-ul-Awwal

We thought Shahbag was about seeking fair and just warcime justice for all war criminals. Not? How did it now move to banning JI? Already hijacked in implementing AL and India's agenda? It has surely lost support of common people as it is now seen as a left wing political vehicle.

: Roni Rahman

Comments

  • Truth seeker
    Friday, February 22, 2013 01:00 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    The Shahbagh moment is now a complete biased politically controlled and politically motivated moment.I had lost all the trust and respect I had for the youths of Shahbag in the initial days. They dont talk anything about corruption and gross miss management, killings of innocent people by government backed terrorist BCL nor do they press for other important issue except banning Jamaat and Shibbir. Next they will demand banning BNP and others except AL. let us raise voice against these activist who wants to turn angladesh into a autocratic nation. Raise voice against the politics of Shahbagh.

  • a h r
    Friday, February 22, 2013 01:12 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    i hate this person who are included islam in plotics.

  • Burt Munroe
    Friday, February 22, 2013 01:25 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Why try just the Islamic Jamaat patry? There supporters (both party people and civilians) should be executed!

  • Ratan Jyoti
    Friday, February 22, 2013 01:43 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    17 days Shahbag movement would make a new Bangladesh and the world got the message a young generation of Bangladesh is coming to make a new Bangladesh with a leading sound for without a war criminal and corruption, democratic, same rights for all religions, justice, without poverty and developed Bangladesh.

  • hussain
    Friday, February 22, 2013 02:14 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    new generation we hope you will raise your voice all of the human rights violation what's happening under AL govt. as well. endless corruption, padma bridge scandal, hall mark scandal,share market scandal etc. those are not a issue? do not block by AL thanks

  • Mohammed Shah Alam Khan from Ottawa, Canada
    Friday, February 22, 2013 02:30 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    It is good that the Youth conclude their continue program at Projanma Chattar Shahabag. It is very wise decision because the Jamaat Shibir already starts to fight against this movement in the name of save Islam. Now there is no issue of Jamaat Shibir to come to road with the so called Mollah to fight with the bloggers. Their terrorism is full stop.

  • Khalid U.K.
    Friday, February 22, 2013 02:30 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    So much is being done about ongoing trial and how come this has become the only issue and slogan by these protesters? Where had they been during BDR carnage and all other unspeakable scams? Spreading hatred will ruin this nation forever. These youngsters should concentrate on their developments leaving the job of Government and judiciary alone. Those who are behind this propaganda are only bothered for their political aim. The country is reeling under poverty.

  • Monir
    Friday, February 22, 2013 04:18 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    when they heard real Nation is coming to the street, they have scared and gone like fox. Anti-Islam is always like that and their strength is like drop of water. No one could stop Islamic Movement in this world even Numrud.

  • Labu Khan
    Friday, February 22, 2013 04:45 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    What a relief to the city dwellers as the Shahbagh protest rally temporarily stops after long 17 days. It is unfortunate that reporters only reported about the mass rally but they failed to report the sufferings of the people during the rally. Besides unnecessary traffic jams, many patients had to suffer and a few even lost their lives which never got reported. Next time please hold the rally in the Ramna Race Course, where the Pakistan Army surrendered on 16th December 1971.

  • rch
    Friday, February 22, 2013 04:58 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Most of the names listed who joined the grand rally never stood up for Bangladesh against Indian atrocities.We dont want to see pro paki or indian rajakars showing fake patriotism.

  • Iftekhar Hassan
    Friday, February 22, 2013 05:56 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Now that Shahbag youth have carried out their democratic right, it is time for them to go back and keep their focus on studies to excell in the future. Politicians of all parties must not exploit these youth prime time of their life to score political victory. Best youth of the world is going after discovering new semi-conductors, 8 nm chips, nano-technology, stem cell research and cyber plane. What is our youth is doing? How many patent and discovery came from Bangladesh?

    .

  • Fida Likhon
    Friday, February 22, 2013 08:45 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Banning Jamaat-e-Islami party will surely not solve the core of the problem, rather it will give chances to their God-fathers to make propangda to make civil war. The best way is to check every schools and colleges so that Islami Chatra Shibir can not motivate young people under the name of Islam and Quran.

  • Freeman
    Friday, February 22, 2013 08:48 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Chanting in Shahbag will not work. You have to go to Mosques to protect religious Muslims from the people of Jamaat-e-Islami party.

  • Reaz Hassan
    Friday, February 22, 2013 09:18 AM GMT+06:00 (60 weeks ago)

    Don't divide and destroy the country. Our identity, culture and way of life are determined by Islam and it is practiced as such in our everyday life. Islam being a complete code of life includes politics. The Islamist political parties have earned for Bangladesh a fair name for their moderate views and practices and are respected by the democratic world. How many riots and killings have we seen in independent Bangladesh compared to that of India and Pakistan? Do we see forced Islamic conversions? Do we see people forced to attend public religious gatherings and prayers? Certainly not. Therefore, we should think thousand times before we leap into uncertainties and confusions. The energy of the youths is essential but not in such vital directions where wise and mature deliberations and reflections are required, and that comes only with maturation and withering years of experience.


 

 


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