Split among Shahbagh protesters surfaces

A group of Shahbagh protesters sitting for a fast-unto-death seeking a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami has revealed the split over the latest Ganajagaran Mancha programmes.Disiilusioned with fresh protest plans the Manch rolled out, they had begun the demonstration in front of National Museum gate at Shahbagh at 10:45pm Tuesday.
Among them were a group of six youths – Niloy, Shuvro, Akash, Ananda, Dwip and Joy.
Manch spokesperson Imran H Sarker earlier on the same day had announced that they would submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Apr 4
The announcement came from a rally at Shahbagh marking the nation’s 42nd anniversary of independence.
Calls for laying a ‘siege’ to Prime Minister’s Office were made during the Tuesday rally and at one point a protest was staged.
An organisation ‘Shahid Rumi Squad’, at one point, called for the fast-unto-death programme inspired by the freedom fighter son of ‘Shaheed Janani’ Jahanara Imam, Shafi Imam Rumi.
“The government has started dilly-dallying in banning Jamaat,” Senjuti Shanima Nodi, an organiser of Shahid Rumi Squad, told bdnews24.com on Tuesday.
She highlighted their contributions to Ganajagaran Manch, including the installation of the massive portrait of Jahanara Imam at Shahbagh. “We have nothing against the announcements from Ganajagaran Mancha.”
“This (hunger strike) is one of our forms of continued protests. We think hunger strike is the most effective form of non-violent movement. We expect everyone’s support.”
Sarker had shed light on the divided opinions after his speech. “We see many have demanded other programmes outside the programmes we have announced. We will announce tougher programmes in phases.”
“Come talk with the Manch. We will force the government to meet our demands through tougher programmes,” he called out to the protesters.
After the protesters began their ‘hunger strike’, Maruf Rasool, one of the Manch spokespersons, told bdnews24.com,” The Ganajagaran Manch has no difference with those staging the hunger strike or other demonstrations.”
”But their demonstration is their own programme, which is not called by Ganajagaran Manch,” he added.
When the small group of protesters announced a siege to the Prime Minister’s Office on Apr 4, journalist Faruk Wasif said “there is no other alternative”.
“People want siege, if blocked we will go for fast-unto-death,” he said.
A blogger Mahbub Rashid said “I want to be clear, we have nothing against Ganajagaran Manch – not a bit. But we disagree with their programmes
He demanded tougher programmes. A torch procession will be taken out at 6:00pm on Wednesday, he said.
Earlier on Feb 21, Emran Sarkar had set Mar 26 the deadline to begin the legal process to ban Jamaat for aiding and committing rape, genocide and other atrocities against freedom-seeking people in 1971.
Ganajagaran Manch was started on Feb 5, protesting what they said was lenient sentence on Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla.
Differences among the protesters also surfaced on Feb 15 – the day when blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death. Sarker had announced continuation of demonstrations after the murder even though he had declared an end to nonstop demonstrations hours before that day.
Several other organisations were also involved with Manch including many student and cultural organisations apart from the Blogger and Online Activists Network.
(Source: bdnews24.com)

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