More women join Shahbagh protests

Jahanara Imam’s portrait set up
Thousands of women from all walks of life joined the Shahbagh protests, spearheaded by the youths, passing the ninth consecutive day Wednesday, expressing solidarity with the demand for death penalty for war criminals. Protesters instituted a giant portrait of Jahanara Imam, who led people’s court trying war criminals in 1992, about 7:00pm amid a minute’s silence.
Women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the Shahbagh crossing and also demanded a ban on Jamaat’s politics.
Protesters requested the countrymen to light candles at 7:00pm today to push for death penalty for Jamaat-e-Islami’s assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla and all other war criminals.
In the evening, women of rights organisation along with others swarmed the place between Aziz Super Market and Children’s Park in one direction and between the fine arts faculty of Dhaka University and the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the other holding banners and festoons.
Dhaka University mass communication and journalism teacher Kaberi Gayen said that Jamaat is a political party ‘which does not believe in women’s empowerment and a critic of women
leadership’ and this inspired women to protest against Jamaat.
She said that a significant number of women had joined the protests as women were the worst victims of atrocities by the Pakistani military and their collaborators.
Left politician Mushrefa Mishu said, ‘These women are also fighting for their rights. Jamaat tortured lakhs of women during the war.’
People in Dhaka, meanwhile, welcomed Pahela Phalgun, first day of the Bangla month of spring, singing protest songs and reciting such poems.
Many protesters in traditional outfit joined the protests, shouting slogans such as ‘Razakarer kalo dag ei basante muchhe jak (Let the blemishes left by collaborators be wiped out this spring).’
The occasion every year is usually marked by festivity and welcome songs.
At dawn, protesters welcomed the spring singing the national anthem. Young girls in yellow saris, with hairs bedecked with marigold and young boys in colourful punjabis flocked to the protest venue and shouted slogans against collaborators.
Many also joined the protests in black dresses. Many participants in the Jatiya Basanta Utsab Udjapan Parishad programme at the fine arts faculty and in others places sported black badges, witnesses said.
Schoolchildren and college students joined the rally in their thousands in the morning.
Demonstrators in the afternoon held a soiree of protest songs at the place. Members of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, Udichi Shilpi Goshthi, Sangiskritik Union and others raised their voice expressing solidarity with the protests.
The National Poetry Council held a session of recitation at the fine arts faculty.
A group of protesters set up a big banner sporting caricatures of war criminals on the fine arts faculty building wall.
Protesters carrying the national flag, banners and festoons marched in small groups, screened films on the independence war, painted road stretches, staged street plays and sang patriotic songs.
Many people stood in queues to sign a long piece of white cloth extending their support to the protests.
Students and teachers of educational institutions such as the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University, Rajshahi University, Khulna University, Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology in Gazipur, Dhaka Medical College and Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College in Bogra, held similar programme.
In Chittagong, people held programmes in front of Chittagong Press Club, in Sylhet, at the Central Shaheed Minar, in Rajshahi, in Alupatti Square, in Barisal in the Ashwini Kumar Town Hall, in Rangpur, in the Town Hall.
The programme was also observed in Feroz-Jahangir Square in Mymansingh, in the thana crossing in Sherpur, at Rangmahal in Kishoreganj. People of Chandpur, Brahmanbaria, Bandarban, Dinajpur, Moulvibazar and Sunamganj held programme near shaheed minars.

Courtesy of New Age

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