- Posted February 10, 2013 by
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Bangladeshi students of Auburn University expressed solidarity with ongoing movement in Shahbag
Bangladeshi students and expatriates all over the world are organizing events to express their solidarity with the people back home, who are in the streets demanding that the war criminals receive exemplary punishment from International War Crimes Tribunal.
Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan in 1971 was earned at the cost of 3 million lives. This genocide was one of the worst genocides in the 20th century. To put it in perspective, the Holocaust took the lives of 6 million Jews over 6 years, around 2700 people every day. Pakistani army and their local allies killed 3 million people in 9 months, more than 10,000 people every day.
The Pakistani army was not alone. They had local helpers, who are known as the Razakars (the Helpers). These animals turned against their own people and aided the Pakistani army by leading them to the freedom fighters, aiding them in their killing and arson, supplying women to the Pakistani army for raping and torturing, etc. Around 200,000 women of all age were brutally raped by the Pakistani army and the Razakars.
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) despite finding him guilty of 344 murders during 1971.
The verdict came as a shock to the general masses, and they took to peaceful street protests at a center-city square called Shahbag. Tens of thousands have been camping there, protesting day and night, and demanding maximum 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 their brothers and sisters at home, demanding that the war criminals are handed exemplary punishment, and any political foul play to delay/deny justice will not be tolerated.
Bangladeshi Students of Auburn University, supported by the local chapter of Bangladesh Student Organization (BSO), organized an event on Saturday, February 9, 2013, in front of Samford Hall. Around thirty students gathered to show their solidarity with the movement taking place in Shahbag, Dhaka. They lit candles, held posters and chanted slogans demanding the punishment of war criminals. Though staying far away from home land, they are trying to contribute in the ongoing movement asking for the long yearned justice that their country certainly deserves after such enormous sacrifices.
- CNN Student News