Shahbagh protests echo in US
Published: 2013-02-09 13:54:13.0 BdST Updated: 2013-02-09 14:08:17.0 BdST
The Shahbagh protest has found resonance among Bangladeshi students in America where they staged demonstrations demanding death penalty for the killers and collaborators of 1971.
Students studying in the University of Texas at Arlington gathered in front of their Central Library to express solidarity with the Shahbagh protestors.
The Bangladesh Students Organisation held the rally Thursday in which over 50 students, mostly post-graduate and Ph.D students, joined.
They carried placards in Bangla that read “We are also with you, Shahbagh”, “Tui Razakar” (you are a war criminal) and “We want death sentence for war criminals”.
The Shahbagh protests, which began with a small gathering Tuesday within hours of the war crimes tribunal sentencing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla to life-term in prison, continued for the fifth day in a row Saturday.
The protestors believe the court handed down ‘too little’ punishment to Molla and are demanding death sentence for him. Molla was found guilty in five cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity filed against him.
The protest was so infectious that it soon engulfed Bangladesh.
Tens of thousands of people forgetting their caste, and professional and political identities in a grand rally Friday chanted for ‘Death penalty to all war criminals’ and ban on the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami.
The Jamaat had opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971.
The party had sided with Pakistani troops during the war when officially three million people were killed. The Islamist party allegedly masterminded killings of the country's leading intellectuals including professors, doctors and journalists.
The current government led by the Awami League set up special tribunal to try the war criminals.
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