The spirit of the Liberation War, which rekindled yet once again after the execution of the war criminal Abdul Quader Mollah, has hit the streets of New York this winter.
Bangladeshis in New York on Sunday afternoon demonstrated for one and a half hours in front of the Queens branch of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organisation run mainly by the South Asian Muslim diaspora of the USA, demanding deportation of convicted war criminal Ashrafuzzaman Khan.
After liberation of Bangladesh, the war criminal had escaped to Pakistan and from there to the US, where he quickly used his network to head organisations like ICNA.
Ashrafuzzaman was a leader of the then Jamaat-e-Islami's student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha and then became a commander of the Al-Badr, a death squad formed by Jamaat with Pakistani army's help to cleanse Bangladesh of its intelligentsia in 1971.
As Al-Badr commander, he not only helped in the abduction and massacre of the intellectuals but himself shot seven professors of Dhaka University in the killing fields of Mirpur.
Found guilty of his crimes, Ashrafuzzaman was given the death sentence 42 years later on November 3, by the International Crimes Tribunal-2. Before that an arrest warrant was issued against him on April 25, but the US remained silent on this issue because Bangladesh does not have any extradition treaty with the country.
The New York chapter of Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee organised the demonstration from 3:00pm to 4:30pm where about 30 Bangladeshis from different parts of the multi-cultural city gathered, chanting slogans against Ashrafuzzaman, Jamaat, and Pakistan and waved Bangladesh's national flag.
Fahim Reza Nur, president of the NY chapter of the committee, however, said demonstrations were being organised to make the US policy makers as well as the citizens aware of how Ashrafuzzaman had acquired US citizenship using illegal papers and was still encouraging terrorist activities under the veil of ICNA.
The ICNA home page displays a picture of Mollah and says his death sentence is a test of Iman. It also carries articles against the war crimes tribunals.
Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi community in the United States also protested yesterday afternoon in front of the Pakistan consulate in Manhattan, denouncing the resolution adopted in the Pakistani National Assembly slating Mollah's hanging.