- Posted February 10, 2013 by
East Lansing, Michigan
"Bangladeshis at Michigan State University Demand Exemplary Punishment for the War Criminals"
This genocide went unpunished for four decades. Any and every attempt to bring the war criminals to justice was thwarted by domestic and international politics. During this time, the collaborators were systematically rehabilitated in politics to the point that they became part of the ruling coalition during 2001-2006.
But, justice was not denied. After necessary preparations, a tribunal was formed in 2010 and some of the leading war criminals were arrested. The first verdict was announced on January 21, 2013, sentencing Abul Kalam Azad (“Bachchu Razakar”, Bachchu the Traitor) to death, in absentia. The second verdict was announced on February 4, 2013, sentencing Quader Mollah (“Koshai Quader”, Butcher Quader) to life-time imprisonment despite finding him guilty (beyond doubt) of 344 murders during 1971.
The verdict came as a shock to the general masses, as only the capital punishment (the death penalty) can be the fitting punishment for the heinous crimes committed by this Quader Mollah. After the verdict, people took to peaceful street protests at a center-city square called Shahbag. Thousands of people have been camping there, protesting day and night and demanding capital punishment for the convicted collaborator. The protest started as a spontaneous gathering of some bloggers and online activists, but promptly grew manifold.
Bangladeshis living abroad are expressing their solidarity with this movement. Our minds are in Shahbag now.
We share similar views:
a) The war criminals should be handed the capital punishment.
b) Any political foul play to delay/deny justice will not be tolerated.
We, the students at Michigan State University (MSU), organized a peaceful event on February 9 (Saturday) to express our views and solidarity with our fellow countrymen who have been spending days and nights under an open sky at Shahbag in Bangladesh. In addition to the Bangladeshi MSU students, few more local Bangladeshis (MSU alumni and staff) also spontaneously joined in the protest. On February 9, we first got together near the Sparty at MSU campus, and then we moved to one of the main entrance points of MSU (the intersection of Harrison and Trowbridge Road in the East Lansing city). We carried posters with illustrations (that remind us of the brutal crimes committed by the war criminals) and our lawful demands on it (“we want Bangladesh free of war criminals,” “we want capital punishment for the war criminals”), the demands that are being echoed in the heart of every Bangladeshi right now, at this very moment.