Rumi Squad urges students to hold token hunger strike
Shahbagh protesters to submit 1cr sigantures to speaker todayStaff Correspondent
Shaheed Rumi Squad members and their fellows on fast-unto-death at Shahbagh on Saturday evening urged all students to hold a token hunger strike in their educational institutions, expressing solidarity with the programme seeking a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir.
The squad members, who began their fast-unto-death in front of the National Museum about 10:30pm on Tuesday, at the briefing said that they would send an open letter to the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in the 100th hour of their protests.
Four of the 20 protesters were, meanwhile, admitted to BIRDEM Hospital after they had fallen sick on the fourth day of the fast-unto-death.
Dhaka University student Sadat Hasan Niloy, Dhaka College student Rubayet Dwip, schoolteacher Alif Pradhan and Mipur Bangla College student Shubra Mahmud Jyoti were to hospital by 8:00pm, their fellow strike Syed Faiz Ahmed said.
Shahbagh protesters who started rallying in the crossing on February 5 seeking to press home their six-point demands, including death penalty for all war criminals and a ban on Jamaat and Shibir, meanwhile, said that they would submit the signatures collected in support of their demands to the speaker today.
Four more protesters on fast-unto-death at Shahbagh were given saline after the had felt weak on Saturday. They are Dhaka University student Mehedi Hasan Shuvro, Dhaka College students Shahidul Haque Ananda, Jahangirnagar University student Quazi Akash and American International University of Bangladesh student Nazmul Haque Bhuiyan.
Others are in a stable condition although they felt weak, said Senjuti Shonima Nodi, a member of the squad.
Manik Sutradhar, another protester who was earlier admitted to BIRDEM Hospital after he had fallen sick, joined the fast-unto-death again with saline.
Seven members of the Shaheed Rumi Squad, named after independence war martyr Shafi Imam Rumi, son of Jahanara Imam who held a people’s trial of war crime suspect Ghulam Azam in 1992, began the fast-unto-death on Tuesday seeking that Jamaat and Shibir should be banned.
They began the protests as the government did not initiate any process to ban Jamaat and Shibir by the deadline of March 26 the Shahbagh protests earlier gave the government for the job.
‘We are on the fast-unto-death as the government has not initiated any move to ban Jamaat and Shibir,’ Senjuti said adding that fast-unto-death was the most effective form of a non-violent movement. ‘We seek support of all.’
A group of cultural activists of Ganajagran Sangskriti Mancha early Saturday joined the fast-unto-death for 24 hours. In the evening, they, however, said that they would continue with the hunger strike for 144 hours.
Shahbagh protesters, meanwhile, said that they would submit the signatures they had collected in support of their six-point demand, including death penalty for all war criminals and a ban on Jamaat and Shibir, to the speaker.
They have plans to walk in a procession towards the national assembly complex from Shahbagh at 11:00am today to submit the signatures to the speaker.
Khan Asaduzzaman Masum, an organiser of the Shahbagh protests, said that more than one crore people had joined the mass signature campaign, which ran for a month beginning on February 22, expressing solidarity with their six-point demand.
The signatures were collected in all protest venues set up at the call of the Shahbagh protests across the country.
The other demands include an early arrest of and action against activists of Jamaat and Shibir threatening a civil war and stern action against political parties, forces, individuals and institutions trying to save war criminals.
The protesters also demanded an early arrest of collaborators, who were convicted or faced trial but released after 1975, and their trial in war crimes tribunals.
They demanded a ban on all enterprises having links with Jamaat and all cultural institutions run by war criminals.
The Shahbagh protests broke out February 5 hours after International Crimes Tribunal 2 sentenced Jamaat’s assistant general secretary Abdul Quader Molla to life in prison, demanding death penalty for all war criminals.
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