The ‘grand rally’ at Shahbagh intersection ended with a vow to spread the ongoing movement from Teknaf to Tetulia demanding death penalty for all war criminals, including Abdul Quader Molla, and a ban on the politics of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life thronging the intersection, called ‘Prajanma Chattar’ by the rallyists, also raised demand for boycott of the people and the financial institutions having to do anything with the Islamist party.
The rally organisers announced repeatedly to take their movement forward until all war criminals were awarded capital punishment.
An official of the Detective Branch (DB) of police predicted that some 250,000 people joined the mass rally
Earlier, the Shahbagh intersection turned into a sea of humanity as tens of thousands of people gathered there for the grand rally demanding capital punishment for 1971 war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla instead of just the life-in-jail sentence handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal-2.
The protest spirit also spread to other parts of Bangladesh and voices called for hanging the Jamaat-e-Islami stalwart from all corners of the country.
The grand rally seeking capital punishment for all war criminals began in Shahbagh with the recitation of a ‘Chorompotro’ from the main platform for the rally erected atop a pick-up truck at the intersection at 3pm.
Blogger Shahidul Islam Raju read out the ‘Chorompotro’ and the national anthem was recited after that.
The spirit at the venue was infectious as people broke into the chants of “Tui Razakar” (you are a war criminal) and the protesters stood and sang the national anthem in chorus at the rally organised by Blogger and Online Activists Network.
People from all walks of life came to the rally venue from various parts of the capital in numerous vehicles and in small groups carrying the national flag, musical instruments, banners and placards.
The gathering had spread from the rally venue to the streets up to Doel intersection, Banglamotor, Kataban and Matsya Bhaban areas.
Moderated by freedom fighter Nasiruddin Yusuf Bachchu, the rally was addressed by Mili Rahman, wife of Shaheed Flight Lieutenant M Matiur Rahman Bir Shrestha (one of the most valiant heroes of the Liberation War), educationist and eminent writer Prof Jafar Iqbal, Dhaka University Vice-chancellor AASM Arefin Siddique, and freedom fighter and cultural personalities Kamal Lohani and Hasan Imam.
They chanted slogans standing at the main platform demanding execution of the Razakars and the war criminals.
Mili Rahman said, “Our new generation is awake. No-one can stop us. It’s that Ekattor when we librated the country. Today you, the youngsters, will build a country free of Razakars and Shibir.”
Kamal Lohani also vowed to ensure trial of the war criminals. “Today the people have stood up.”
To dismay of many, the ICT-2 Tuesday awarded Molla life imprisonment for his crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971. People of all strata and various organisations, including the socio-political and cultural ones, said they expected death penalty for him.
Outraged by the ‘too little’ punishment, cultural and political activists and youngsters, mostly university students and bloggers, whipped up emotions on the social networking sites and blogs. People started converging at Shahbagh intersection in the heart of the capital since Tuesday afternoon soon after the delivery of the verdict.
They then grew in numbers and have been keeping candle-lit vigil for the last four nights.
The Jamaat had opposed Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971. The party had sided with Pakistani troops during the Liberation War when officially three million people were killed, and the fundamentalist party allegedly masterminded the murders of the country’s leading intelligentsia including professors, doctors and journalists.bdnews24.com