Cops foil sit-in on Jamaat trial issue
Police yesterday foiled a sit-in called by the Imran H Sarker-led faction of Gonojagoron Mancha to protest the law minister's recent comment that the Jamaat-e-Islami's trial is not possible under the International Crimes Tribunal Act.
Activists first gathered at Shahbagh in the capital and then started marching in procession to the law ministry at the secretariat around 12:30pm, chanting slogans, “At what price the decision to ban Jamaat was sold”, “Stop dilly-dallying over banning Jamaat”, “If the Nazi party could be banned why not Jamaat” etc.
They were supposed to hold a three-hour-long sit-in in front of the law ministry. But when the procession reached Doyel Chattar at the Dhaka University campus, police obstructed it.
At one point of their argument with law enforcers, some activists tried to break through the barricade and ended up engaging in a scuffle with the police.
The activists then sat around Doyel Chattar, chanted slogans and voiced concern over the recent developments involving the war crimes tribunal and the comments of government high-ups about it.
"People are thinking that the government has retreated from its previous stance (relating to the Jamaat)," said Imran, spokesperson of the Gonojagoron Mancha.
The Jamaat has turned into almost a dead organisation now because people have started to reject it, but the government through a negotiation is resuscitating the party, he added.
Imran also said the Mancha would hold protest rallies across the country on Friday demanding that the government clear it position as to whether it wants to ban Jamaat or not.
The Mancha held a torch procession at 6:00pm yesterday at Shahbagh protesting against the police action.
On May 29, Law Minister Anisul Huq said, “There is no provision in the International Crimes [Tribunals] Act 1973, which was amended later, to try and punish a political party” since no punishment was stipulated in the law for committing crimes against humanity as a party during the Liberation War in 1971.
Gonojagoran Mancha and other progressive groups, which have been demanding trial of war criminals as well as the Jamaat, have expressed disapproval of the statement.
The Mancha announced the sit-in programme demanding withdrawal of the statement.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a press briefing seconded the law minister's argument, and said she saw no reason behind the hullaballoo over the war crimes trial as things were going on at the right pace.