Dhaka, Feb 8: The sentencing of Abdul Quader Mollah, an Islamist cleric, to life in prison for crimes against humanity in the nation’s 1971 war of independence, has evoked angry protests in Dhaka and in other parts of Bangladesh.
For several days, including on Friday, protests have rocked many cities in the country.
Bloggers and Online Activists’ Network first gathered at Dhaka’s Shahbag square demanding capital punishment of Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah shortly after the International Tribunal-2 sentenced him to lifetime imprisonment for crimes against humanity in Liberation War 1971.
The activists, along with many more people from blogs and social networking sites, have rejected the verdict and have been protesting since Tuesday afternoon.
Thousands of people have joined the protest demanding death sentence for Abdul Quader Mollah and for every war
“For four decades, we have remained quiet with the hope that one day these war criminals will be sentenced to death. We cannot accept their lifetime imprisonment,” CNN quoted Shoaib, a student of Dhaka University, as saying earlier this week.
He added: “We will not leave until Quader Mollah is sentenced to death.”
People from all sections of society, irrespective of class, gender, religion and profession staged the protest.
Rumana Ahmed, a medical college student, was quoted, as saying: “I’m not at all interested in politics. But I know what happened in Bangladesh back in 1971. I know what the war criminals did to us. We can’t just let them live. Be it in prison or wherever. They have to die.”
“If a murder’s verdict is death sentence, then how can a person involved in over 300 murders can be sentenced to lifetime imprisonment instead of death sentence,” asked another student.
The protesters also demanded a permanent ban on religious politics in Bangladesh, specifically naming the Jamaat-e-Islami, of which many leaders are accused of being war criminals.
Meanwhile, some organizations have arranged for a mass signature campaign on white paper.
Journalists and cameramen from different medias have also set up temporary newsroom and cameras to provide live coverage from time-to-time.
Officials of the government have said that they will file an appeal against the verdict within the 30-day deadline, but have remained quiet about the ongoing protest at Shahbag Square. (ANI)