‘No returning home before war criminals are hanged’

Thousands vow at Rayerbazar to resist Sunday hartal

THOUSANDS of people took oath on Saturday not to return home until their demands of death penalty to war criminals and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) are fulfilled.

Joining a rally at Rayerbazar Baddhabhumi (mass killing ground) Saturday afternoon, they also vowed to resist Sunday’s hartal called by so-called eight Islamist parties.

Imran H Sarker, convener of Blogger and Online Activist Network, administered the oath.

The crowd also pledged to boycott all Jamaat-backed social and financial institutions, including media outlets which have been spreading propaganda against the Shahbagh movement, branding it as an anti-Islam movement run by atheists.

The demonstrators urged people to boycott Jamaat in all spheres of life.

In his speech, Imran also strongly condemned the Jamaat and their allies’ attack on media personnel on Friday.

Slogans demanding death penalty for war criminals reverberated through the capital as thousands of people from different directions marched to the Baddhabhumi chanting slogans, expressing solidarity with the ongoing Shahbagh movement.

People of all walks sang in unison the national anthem to start the rally around 3:35pm.

The Shahbagh protesters, who called for the rally, thronged the venue prior to the beginning of the rally, carrying the national flag.

Imran H Sarker on Friday night urged people to hold the national flag together and join their march towards the mass killing ground, to protest the violence of Jamaat-Shibir men, who burnt and tore the flag down during Friday’s violence across the country.

Friday afternoon, about 16 hours after the nonstop movement, the network activists returned to the Shahbagh intersection, following the Jamaat-Shibir activists’ countrywide violence.

Several hundred demonstrators were seen chanting slogans and rendering revolutionary songs at the venue, as the demonstration stepped into its 19th day next morning.

Meanwhile, the mass signature campaign called by the demonstrators resumed at 10:00am Saturday for the second straight day.

The programme will continue until March 7. The campaign will continue for 12 hours everyday, starting from 10:00am at the venue.

After Friday’s mayhem, Imran H Sarker issued an ultimatum to the government to arrest within 24 hours Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of the daily Amar Desh, for “publishing motivating stories and instigating the violence”.

The Shahbagh movement began on February 5, hours after Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for rape, killing and genocide during country’s Liberation War in 1971.

Protesters say a life term is too lenient a punishment for Mollah, known as the “Butcher of Mirpur” for his notorious role in the killing of hundreds during the war and demand capital punishment to Mollah and all other war criminals.


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