Bangladesh – reliving the spirit of 1971

26.02.2013 - Dhaka, Bangladesh - Pressenza IPA

Bangladesh – reliving the spirit of 1971
Protest in Dhaka, Shahbag Square February 2023 (Image by Sariful Islam Shamim)

The 2013’s Shahbag has allowed the youth of this country to relive the spirit of 1971, it reflects the hatred of the general mass towards the traitors who participated in the rape of Bangladesh in 1971, and represents the demand of the people of this land regarding the trial of the war criminals.

By Sariful Islam Shamim

The International Crime Tribunal (ICT) was set up to right a wrong, i.e. to bring the war criminals of this country to justice. Even though it is unfortunate that it took us almost forty years to take such a much-needed initiative, the beginning of such an effort was well appreciated by all. This was a demand of all the people who hold the spirit of 1971 close to their hearts. It should be noted here that the trial of the war criminals is not owned by the government or any political party rather the government is the custodian – we have entrusted the government with a specific role and we plan to hold them accountable for their performances. And this movement is a reflection of this accountability. When the criminals, the collaborators of the Pakistani army were arrested, the nation appreciated that. When the judicial procedure was going on, the whole nation was watching and was waiting eagerly for the verdict. Needless to say, to the people of this country and to the youth, there is only one acceptable verdict and that is the capital punishment of all the war criminals. We are not making an exaggerated demand – everyone knows what these demons did in 1971, the proofs are everywhere and for everyone to judge and we just wanted fair judgment and yes, for these demons, even capital punishment is not enough!

Abdul Quader Mollah, better known as ‘Kashai Quader’ (Butcher Quader) is one of the collaborators, or Razakars we call them in Bangladesh and is responsible for the loss of thousands of lives in Mirpur area during the war time and he, along with the local Biharis slaughtered many Bengalis who supported the cause of independent Bangladesh, among whom was a famous poet Meherunnisa. So imagine our surprise, our shock and our anger when the unexpected verdict of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah came out. A lifeline was offered to the butcher and we cannot really accept that. And that is the beginning of the Shahbag movement where people from all walks of life gathered protesting this verdict and all the slogans and chantings go on demanding one thing, i.e. capital punishment of all the war criminials of 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh.

Thousands of people under the banner of ‘Bloggers and Online Activist Network’ are participating in the movement. This group contains people from all walks of life such as students, teachers, cultural activists, women, children, freedom fighters, employees at various organizations, sports person and even politicians. They don’t represent any political party and are participating in the protest regardless of gender, class, ethnicity or religion. No incentives have been offered to these participants and no one is paying for these processions rather we see people who are responding to their conscience. Parents are joining their sons and daughters, teachers are protesting along side with their students and even rickshaw-pullers are carrying people to Shahbag at free of cost. That’s how frustrated, how angry people are and that’s how powerful the love for country is. We can no longer coexist with the demons, we can no longer breathe the same air and we can no longer allow another lifeline to the war criminals. Enough is enough! It’s time for reflection, for a better future, for a better Bangladesh and yes, for a demon-free country. The people have spoken – don’t dare to ignore it. Either way, you will be part of the history and it’s your choice to decide whether you want to be on right or wrong side of it. Silence is no longer an option!

For more info please read the article by Asif Shahan″


Categories: Asia, International, Politics
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