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>fresh vow to try war criminals on Independence Day

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>THE country echoed with the demand for the trial of war criminals once again yesterday as the nation celebrated its 38th Independence Day through paying tribute to the Liberation War martyrs and vowing to bring the war criminals to book.
Hundreds of thousands of people belonging to different generations led by freedom fighters stood before war memorials across the country and took the oath to free Bangladesh of Razakars.
The celebration of Independence Day this year had a new perspective as the nation is struggling to restore democracy and introduce a healthy political practice through reforms ensuring people’s rights.
People expressed their desire and demand for bringing back democracy through a free, fair and impartial national election which is expected to be held by this year end as pledged by both the government and Election Commission.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founding leader, formally declared the independence of Bangladesh on this day in 1971. The declaration led to the nine-month long Liberation War against the Pakistani occupation forces, culminating in the emergence of a sovereign state on the global map.
The much-cherished trial of the war criminals in special tribunal has not been met in the last 37 years since independence.
People took a fresh vow of bringing the war criminals to justice at a time when the war criminals have begun denying the very existence of any anti-liberation force during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
The demand for the trial of war criminals was raised by national and international communities immediately after the emergence of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.
Families and relatives of martyrs, victims of war crimes, freedom fighters, socio-political and cultural organisations, human rights bodies, leading professionals and eminent citizens of the country waged movements for the war criminals’ trial on numerous occasions. But due attention was never paid to the demand.
In the early 1990s, Shaheed Janani (mother of martyrs) Jahanara Imam took to the street with the demand and hundreds of thousands of people joined her. Unfortunately, the movement failed because of the negligence of the authorities concerned.
After this caretaker government assumed power last year, the demand was raised again with the initiation of different government drives against corruption and irregularities committed by high-profile graft suspects.
The arrest of two former premiers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia sowed the seed of expectation in the minds of people that the government will also meet the long-standing demand.
The expectation gradually turned into a desire. At one stage, the sector commanders of the Liberation War and war heroes became united last year to press home the demand.
People thronged the war memorials and independence monuments, including the National Memorial at Savar, yesterday to place floral wreaths at the altars to pay homage to the martyrs and vowed to bring the war criminals to justice.
(Read The Daily Star report)


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