The Gonojagoron Moncho formed a protest rally on Sunday in front of the national museum demanding the arrest of the mastermind behind the attack on Professor Md Zafar Iqbal.
The platform also demanded that the assailant be brought under trial and given exemplary punishment of all that were involved in the attack.
Moncho Spokesperson Imran H Sarker gave an ultimatum of 24 hours and said: “The government must find the real identity of those involved with this attack, and whether they are affiliated with any terrorist group.”
“The attack on Zafar Iqbal is an example of the culture of impunity that is prevailing in the country, with repeated attacks on outspoken progressives,” Imran said.
He announced that the organization will form human chains at all educational institutions on March 6 and hold mass demonstrations across the country on March 8 over the issue.
Lawyer and human rights activist Sultana Kamal said: “Zafar Iqbal is a symbol of non-communalism. The attack was launched by fundamentalist forces because his writings and thoughts harm their interests.”
“Attack on Prof Zafar is comparable to the attack on our courage of independence. The government must bring the attackers to book to ensure the security of those who believe in the courage of independence and freedom of thought,” she added.
She thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for condemning the attack and demanded a proper investigation into the incident.
Later, the Moncho brought out a protest procession from Shahbagh which went through different streets of the Dhaka University campus.
Two other organizations, ‘Doctors for Health and Environment’ and ‘Engineers and Architects for Environment and Development’ expressed solidarity with the Moncho.
Under the banner of ‘Bikkhubdho Nagarik Samaj,’ activists staged a sit-in-protest and ‘Former Students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST)' formed a human chain at the same time.
Freedom fighter Zahiruddin Jalal, known as Bicchu Jalal, spoke at the event.
At the same time around 4pm ‘Sammilita Sangoskritik Jote’ held a protest rally at the Central Shaheed Minar.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, who attended the rally, said: “People who believe in communalism and are against the spirit of the Liberation War are responsible for the attack on Zafar Iqbal. This was a preplanned attack.”
“Such attacks are being carried out to halt the development of the country and push it backwards,” he added.
He also urged everyone to raise their voice against all evildoers and teach humanitarian values to children.
Dhaka University (DU) Prof Md Samad, who presided over the function, said: “People from all walks of life should take to the streets to protest together against such evil activities.”
DU Vice Chancellor Professor Akhtaruzzaman and the Teachers Association (Duta) in separate statements also condemned and protested the attack on Zafar Iqbal and demanded punishment of the attackers.
In individual statements, teachers from pro-Awami League Blue panel and BNP-Jamat backed White Panel of DU also condemned and protested the attack on Prof Zafar and demanded steps for bringing the attackers to book.
Leftist student organizations Chhatra Federation and Chhatra Front also protested the attack, bringing out separate processions in the campus.
Bangladesh Chhatra League held a protest rally around 11:30pm Saturday.
BCL President Saifur Rahman Sohag addressed the attacker as an activist of Jaamat-Shibir. He said, “We are requesting the law enforcers to arrest the mastermind behind the attack and we want proper justice.”