100,000 Bangladeshis seek death penalty for war crimes

Dhaka: More than 100,000 people have signed a letter seeking death penalty for Bangladeshi war criminals, a media report said Tuesday.

The mass signature campaign, which began Feb 22, demands death penalty for war criminals. People who collaborated with the Pakistan government during the 1971 freedom movement are called “war criminals” in Bangladesh.

Till Monday night, signatures of more than one lakh people were collected, reported dailystar.net.

The youth have been demonstrating for the last 22 days at Shahbagh intersection, popularly known as Projonmo Chattar.

The movement began Feb 5, soon after Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for rape, killing and genocide in 1971 during country’s liberation war. People became angry on seeing the image of Mollah smiling and holding up two fingers in a “V” sign as he was led from the court.

Bloggers and Online Activist Network initiated the protest that soon turned into a mass movement.

The demonstrators plan to stage a demonstration outside the home ministry Tuesday demanding arrest of Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of Bangla daily Amar Desh.

Rahman has been sued for instigating militancy and fanaticism and spreading false information to create anarchy across the country, said a media report.

People from different walks of life began to throng the Shahbagh intersection since Tuesday morning.

They chanted revolutionary slogans.

Demonstrators Sunday took out a procession in the capital to protest the countrywide daylong shutdown called by eight Islamist parties.

Black flags were hoisted Feb 18 in memory of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, an activist of ongoing Shahbagh movement as the current wave of demonsterations is called, who was stabbed to death Feb 15.

On March 26, 1971, the people of then East Pakistan began a military campaign against Pakistani armed forces following largescale killings of civilians opposed to strong-arm rule of Islamabad.

The civil war led to the eventual India-Pakistan war in December 1971, leading to the break-up of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh.


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