Bangladesh has seen the nation’s biggest crowd in the last decade, all united for one purpose, with one motto: ‘Hang the War Criminals of 1971′. Today was the 4th day of demonstration in the capital’s Shahbag area, with people protesting there day and night. No one had foreseen that a few bloggers could bring about the entire country down to protest. People from all over the country have traveled to Dhaka to take part.
People could be seen flocking the intersection since early morning. It started with hundreds carrying national flags, banners, posters and placards, getting ready for the afternoon mass rally. By 3.00 pm the entire area was brimming with thousands of protesters. Some of the senior members of the rally commented that the participation of the youth was overwhelming.
An admirable example is the case of a young lady Lucki Akhter, who has never seen the Liberation War yet speaks with a burning fury against the verdict of the tribunal. To get her and other like-minded people’s voice heard, Akhter has been giving out slogans tirelessly for over three days now, and the whole nation has been cheering and chanting to her speech. The determination shown by this young lady, who has been away from the sit-in only for a total of two hours in the last three days, has earned her respect with some people saying ‘Salute to Lucki Akther’!
Many others like Lucki Akhter crowd the protest at Shahbag. Administrator of the group ‘Moja Losss’ on Facebook, along with a few other friends and volunteers, have given out red and green t-shirts today to show solidarity with the protest and to signify the flag of the nation. Others are seen bringing in food and drinks for protestants at the sit-in.
An oath was taken by the Protestants at the rally that they will continue this movement until their demands are met. And in addition to their demand for Capital Punishment of War Criminals of 1971 such as Quader Mollha, demonstrators have also asked for banning political party Jamaat and its student wing Shibir.
Some protestants also pledged the boycott of businesses, banks, media outlets and social and cultural organizations owned by leaders and members of Jamaat.
Imran H. Sarkar, convener of Bloggers and Online Activist Network, is one of the initiators and organizers of the movement. He comments œWe pledge to keep on demanding trial under a special tribunal, of Razakars and Al-Badrs who were convicted and were under trial but freed after 1975.”
Imran also stated, “We pledge that we will continue our movement from Teknaf to Tetulia under the leadership of general people until highest punishment is given to Razakars-Al-Badrs who committed crimes against humanity like genocide and rape in 1971.” Imran was lauded by Protestants and his slogan was chanted repeatedly by the people present.
Influential writer Professor Muhammad Zafar Iqbal said, “I am here to offer my apology to you. I wrote in newspapers that the new generation only hits ‘like’ on Facebook and writes on blogs, but does not take to the streets. You have proved me wrong, and I thank you all for this.”
“The year 2013 has turned into 1971 and those of you who did not see 1971 are now witnessing ‘71 in the year of 2013. Study when it’s time to study, write poems when it’s time to write poems, listen to music when it’s time to listen to music ¦ and take to the streets when you need to. It is the happiest day of my life. All the martyrs and the country people are thankful to you,” he said.
The sit-in, which was started online, has caused the flame to burn all over Bangladesh. War memories are rekindled, painful emotions are brought back. While the opposition party leaders are against the whole movement, senior influential members of the society see it as history of 1971 repeating in 2013.
Image Courtesy : Lordamit