Continuing their demonstrations for the 23rd day on Wednesday, the Shahbag Projomno Chottor protesters reaffirmed that they were not against religion but were for justice.They strongly condemned the radical forces for spreading anti-Islamic propaganda and shifting the blame onto the protesters. Imran H Sarker, convener of Blogger and Online Activist Network, said the anti-liberation forces led by Jamaat-e-Islami were trying to exploit the religious sentiments for political gains.
The young organisers also said that the war criminals and their mentors were now trying to brand their peaceful movement anti-Islamic,echoing the situation in 1952 when attempts were made to identify Bangla as a Hindu language; and in 1971 when they termed the nation’s liberation war anti-Islamic.
The organisers also said their main objectives were to ensure capital punishment for war criminals and a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, the Islami Chhatra Shibir, as they have unleashed a reign of terror across Bangladesh to foil the war crimes trial.
The protesters had submitted a memorandum to the Bangladesh Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir on Tuesday, demanding immediate arrest of Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of the pro-Jamaat and pro-BNP newspaper Amar Desh for disseminating “malicious propaganda” disparaging their movement. Following the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider on February 15, allegedly by Islamist militants, the Bangla newspaper ran a series of reports that the Shahbag protesters were conducting an anti-Islamic campaign, provoking a section of the Islamist parties to create violence and anarchy across Bangladesh. The war crimes tribunal being set to deliver the third verdict on Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, a major suspect, Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a nationwide dawn to dusk shutdown on Thursday.