Shahbagh protests call for ban on Jamaat

February 16, 2013

Protesters call off earlier plan after fellow’s killing
Shahbagh protesters late Friday night stepped back from the decision they announced in the afternoon that they would be holding protests for seven hours every day after the killing of a blogger at Mirpur and Jamaat-e-Islami’s call for a general strike for Monday.
The decision on rally for seven hours that was announced in the afternoon, however, drew ire from a large section of protesters as they refused to leave the place after 10:00pm.
The dissenting group of protesters at one point occupied the makeshift dais set for Friday’s rally and continued shouting slogans that they had not agreed to the decision. They also accused the bloggers’ platform of compromising their sentiment.
Blogger Imran H Sarkar about 11:00pm went onto the dais and took back the earlier announcement. ‘Now we have no option but to continue with round-the-clock protests after the killing of a fellow of ours.’
Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, known as Thaba Baba in the blogging circle, was found dead with his throat slit in front of his house at Pallabi at night.
Protesters earlier in the day in the Shahbagh crossing and elsewhere across the country on Friday called for a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and vowed to continue with protests to push for their demands, including death penalty for war criminals.
Protesters, irrespective of age, faith and party affiliation, poured in Shahbagh for a rally in the afternoon and took a vow raising hands not to leave the streets until their demands were met.
The organisers called on people to resist Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir wherever they would be seen and to reach the protests to the remotest corners of the country.
They also asked sympathisers with war criminals to stop patronising them and asked the people to boycott financial and services establishments owned by Jamaat and its activists.
On the 11th consecutive day of the Shahbagh protests, the organisers announced that they would be holding protests at Shahbagh for seven hours
a day between 3:00pm and 10:00pm ‘to take the movement forward and make it more organised.’
People initially said ‘no’ to the announcement by blogger Imran H Sarkar for protests for seven hours a day but later accepted it when Imran called on them to get ready to swarm the are on a moment’s notice.
The organisers also announced the programme of hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem in all educational institutions, including mardassahs, at 10:00am on Sunday.
‘We have achieved some successes. We have forced the government to amend the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 which was holding back the state from appealing against the tribunal’s verdict. The bill is likely to be passed on Sunday. But this is not the end of our movement,’ Imran said reading out a declaration.
Imran said that the platform for demanding for capital punishment for war criminals was not partisan despite the issue being absolutely political. ‘Our movement is above partisan parochiality and we represent a national unity,’ he said.
‘We are not here to shed tears. Forty-two years after, we have gathered to push for the demand for the execution of killers. Support us, steer the protests forward and convey the message of 1971 to each of the houses,’ he said.
People in their thousands started assembling at Shahbagh about midday and the crossing, stretching from Kantaban to Matsya Bhaban and from the Sakura crossing to the Teacher-Student Centre, teemed with people when the rally began about 4:00pm with the singing the national anthem.
Protesters shouting slogans such as ‘Phanshi, phanshi, phanshi Chai, Quader Mollar phanshi chai (Hang Quader Molla) and ‘Tui razakar, tui razakar (you are collaborators)’ filled the air.
Many of them shouted ‘Let weapons of ’71 roar again,’ and ‘We want razakars to be hanged.’ Lucky Akhter and others were untiringly leading the slogans at intervals between speeches.
Only the student leaders spoke at Friday’s rally calling for a national unity of political parties, professionals, and cultural, student and youth organisations to push for death penalty for all war criminals.
The Student Union president, SM Shubho, the Chhatra League general secretary, Siddiqui Nazmul Alam, the Chhatra Front president, Shaifuzzman Shaker, former Chhatra Maitree president Bappaditya Basu, and the Biplabi Chhatra Maitree president, Abdur Rouf, among others, addressed the rally, anchored by journalist Anjan Roy.
Some language movement heroes, retired Supreme Court judge Golam Rabbani, Dhaka University professor emeritus Anisuzzman, actors Hasan Imam and Pijush Bandopaddhyay, the Jahangirnagar University vice-chancellor, Anwar Hossain, the Bangladesh Economic Association president, Abul Barkat, writer Shahriyar Kabir and actor Asaduzzaman Noor were, among others, on the makeshift dais.
Ayesha Faiz, the widow of martyred police officer Faizur Rahman, also joined the protests with her two sons writer Muhammad Zafar Iqbal and cartoonist Ahsan Habib.
Several hundred Cambrian College students in black uniform also joined the protests.
In Chittagong, people continued with protests for the 10th consecutive day on the Chittagong Press Club premises. Sampradayikata Birodhi Tarun Udyog is leading the protests.
Youths in Barisal set up Ekattarer Mancha in front of the Ashwini Kumar Town Hall on Friday. In Sylhet, protesters joined the rally in front of the Central Shaheed Minar.
The protesters said similar protests were also reported from countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United States and the United Kingdom by expatriate Bangladeshis.
The protests began in the Shahbagh crossing on February 5 hours after International Crimes Tribunal 2 sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami’s assistant secretary general Abdur Quader Molla to life in prison. The protesters termed the punishment ‘inadequate compared with crimes Molla committed in the war of independence.’

Courtesy of New Age

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