‘Murders won’t stop movement’
Published: 2013-03-10 15:19:22.0 BdST Updated: 2013-03-10 18:15:23.0 BdST
The Shahbagh demonstrators, calling for death to convicted war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, say they will not be deterred by threats to life and enforced disappearances.
Addressing a rally at Dhaka’s Uttara on Sunday, they also asked the government to take adequate measures tp ensure their safety.
They made the call 24 hours into the murder of Ahmed Miraz, the younger brother of lyricist Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul, a witness against former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam in the ongoing war crime trials.
Bulbul had testified against Azam on Oct 5 last year as the 14th prosecution witness at the International Crimes Tribunal -1.
“We can see that those who are speaking against the war criminals are being killed or attacked,” Imran H Sarker, the spokesperson for the Ganajagan Mancha, said.
“We said it before and are saying it again, the state must ensure security for each of the demonstrators,” he added.
Railway police recovered the body of Miraz from the east of the Khilkhet-Kuril Flyover at around 1am on Sunday. Doctors said Miraz was gagged to death.
A blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was found murdered on Feb 15, 10 days after the Shahbagh protest kicked off.
The body of Tanvir Rahman Twaki, son of Narayanganj district Ganajagaran Mancha unit organiser and cultural activist Rafiur Rabbi, was fished out from the Shitalakkhya river on Friday, two days after he had gone missing.
Wahidul Alam Junu, who had deposed on Feb 12 as the 19th witness against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, also died mysteriously in February.
Pasha Chowdhury and Saniur Rahman, both associated with the movement at Shahbagh, also came under attacks recently.
The Ganajagaran Mancha will travel to Chittagong on Mar 13 to hold their first-ever programme outside the capital amid a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the Hefajat-e-Islami Bangladesh.
Imran, on Sunday said, “The demonstration will not be tamed through shutdowns, murders or enforced disappearances. I will stage the rally on that day at any rate.”
Speaking at the rally, Bappaditya Basu, the President of Bangladesh Chhatra Maitri, said,“We have lost many of our comrades through the 34 days of our demonstration.”
“The Jamaat and Shibir have started mayhem at a time when the Shahbagh movement spread across whole of Bangladesh,” he said. “The movement will not be quelled by violence.”
The student leader also said the Jamaat and its collaborators will have to take the responsibility for any unpleasant situation on that day.
He urged the people to take up sticks and remain alert against violence by anti-liberation force. “Beat and handed over to police the Jamaat, Shibir men who will be causing violence.
Bangladesh Chhatra League General Secretary Siddque Nazmul Alam said: “None of us is safe in this situation. Keep vigil and be ready with bamboo sticks. (We have) to resist the Razakar cartel.”
Bangladesh Chhatra Union President SM Shuvo demanded arrest of the Jamaat acting Secretary General and the Shibir President and General Secretary.
The Sunday’s rally kicked off with the singing of national anthem around 3pm at Uttra’s Sector 11 intersection area. Thousands of students began to throng the area from 2pm.
Samajtantrik Chhatra Front General Secretary Mehedi Hassan Tomal, Chhatra Federation Office Secrery Sabina Rahman, Bangladesh Chhatra Samiti Convener Saidur Rahman Khan, Biplobi Chhatra Moitri leader Meer Rezaul Alam, Chhatra Andalon Convener Monjurul Ahsan Mithu and JSD Chhatra League General Secretary Shamsul Islam Sumon, among others, addressed the rally.
Many educational institutions, professional bodies and rights and socio-cultural organisations expressed solidarity with the protesters. They include Shaheed Mansur Ali Medical College, Govt Titumir College, Habibullah Model School and College, Dhaka Women’s College, North South University, Kamarparha School and College, Turag Thana Nogorik Hitoishi Committee, Post-graduate Doctors’ Association, Trade Union Kendra, Prajamna 71 and Uttara Socheton Jubo Samaj.
Security was ramped up by a few notches in the area following the bomb attack on the Ganajagaran rally at Shagbagh on Mar 8. Members of the security agencies kept a vigil eye on the rally from the rooftops of the nearby high-rises.
Shahbagh came under spotlight on Feb 5 when a few youths, led by Blogger and Online Activist Network, sat at the intersection protesting what they called ‘lenient sentence’ of life sentence to war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla, also the Jamaat Assistant Secretary General.
The protest drew support from people of all walks of life spreading across the country, with the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’ replicated in different districts and divisions.
The demonstrators also held seven rallies in different parts of Dhaka with the last one taking place on Friday.
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