Youths term Jamaat-Shibir; from Rayerbazar rally, they urge all to resist today's hartal, call upon police to rise up to its historic reputation

Carrying reds and greens of varying sizes, thousands rallied on the premises of Rayerbazar Martyred Intellectuals Memorial yesterday for a six-point demand including capital punishment to 1971 war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-Shibir. It was the first rally outside Projonmo Chattar in the capital's Shahbagh since the youth movement began on February 5. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Terming Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir terrorist outfits, the Shahbagh activists yesterday urged the people to build resistance against the organisations in every locality across the country.
They castigated Jamaat-Shibir rioters for attacking law enforcers, journalists and demonstrators of Gonojagoron Manchas and defiling the National Flag and Shaheed Minar on Friday.
“What can be more derogatory than desecrating the National Flag and Shaheed Minar?” said Imran H Sarker, convener of the Blogger and Online Activist Network.
He was addressing a grand rally at Rayerbazar Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial in the capital around 5:30pm yesterday.
Condemning the recent surge in violence against police by these fanatics, Imran said, "We request our police brothers to play a courageous role as in 1971. The people of Bangladesh are with you.”
He also noted that the media personnel, who have expressed solidarity with the demand for war crimes trial, also were targeted on Friday.
"We from the Gonojagoron Mancha want to say that if the mass movement of 2013 can be termed the second phase of the Liberation War, the pro-liberation media men are our friends.”
"You are the successor to martyred journalist Sirajuddin Hossain. Your spirit is enkindled by Shahidullah Kaisar. The people are with you. Don't be scared," he told the media community.
Imran also urged the people to bring out mass processions across the country around 8:00am today to resist the hartal called by those who rampaged through the country on Friday burning and tearing national flags, destroying Shaheed Minars and beating up police.
In the capital, the procession will start from Projonmo Chattar and march through Matsya Bhaban, Jatiya Press club and Purana Paltan before returning to Shahbagh.
Yesterday, several thousand protesters at the rally took an oath to continue their movement until their six-point demand, including the capital punishment for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-Shibir politics, is met.
They pledged to boycott all Jamaat-backed institutions including media outlets.
Chanting slogans made popular through the 17-day non-stop agitations at Shahbagh, people of all ages marched towards the venue from different parts of the city.
With flags tied around their heads like bandanas and flags drawn on their cheeks, they promised to protect the nation from Jamaat-Shibir elements.
Students from schools and colleges flocked to Rayerbazar, guided by their teachers.
“In independent Bangladesh, we have to get rid of the garbage like Jamaat-Shibir,” said Jannatul Suraiya, a class-VIII student.
Anwara Begum, in her 80s, also joined the rally. "I want to chop to death Quader Mollah, the way he killed my husband right before my eyes in 1971," she said.
After a rendition of the National Anthem, sung by thousands in unison, student leaders from different organisations addressed the rally.
Bangladesh Chhatra League President HM Bodiuzzaman Shohag said Islam does not teach people to go to mosques with bombs and carry out acts of terrorism at the time of prayers.
Bangladesh Chhatra Union President SM Shuva said, "The violence of Jamaat-Shibir has created anger in the public mind. I would like to urge them (Jamaat-Shibir) to surrender as they did in 1971."
Mehedi Hasan Tamal, general secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, vowed to continue the movement with public support against fundamentalism and militancy.
Bangladesh Chhatra Moitry General Secretary Tanvir Rusmat said Friday's violence has proved that they are playing the same evil role as in 1971.
Biplobi Chhatra Moitry General Secretary Hillol Roy urged the people not to be confused by any propaganda spread by Jamaat-Shibir regarding religious issues.
The next rally will take place in Mirpur at 3:00pm tomorrow.
People from all walks of life streamed into Shahbagh in hundreds in the morning and then in thousands after the Rayerbazar rally, even though only the mass signature campaign was supposed to take place there.
The intersection was blocked from all sides.
The signature campaign for pressing home the six-point demand was initiated on Friday and will continue till March 7. Many who came for event stayed back and started chanting slogans on their own.
Nasir Hassan, a student, said, “I came for the signature campaign. But I could not stop myself from chanting slogans.”
From the media cell, leaflets containing the names of all organisations affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami were distributed among the people.
Kamrul Hasan, who just wanted to drop by to see the demonstration before leaving for Khulna, started chanting slogans.
Tahmina Khanam, a 75-year-old demonstrator, said, “I will not allow my near ones to be involved with these organisations. I came here for the signature campaign. But after signing the paper, I couldn't leave the place.”
The intersection reverberated with slogans till midnight.


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