AL ministers mull legal actions while JaPa leaders termed it unacceptable
Senior leaders of ruling Awami League and the main opposition, Jatiya Party (JaPa) condemned a report by The Daily Sangram for describing the Jamaat-e-Islami leader and hanged war criminal Abdul Quader Molla as a ‘martyr’.
After paying tribute to the martyred intellectuals at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Rayer Bazar, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said communal groups which attacked and killed intellectuals, freedom fighters, and Bangalis in 1971, are still spreading their venomous poison.
He said legal action will be taken against Bangla newspaper Daily Sangram for highlighting executed war crimes convict and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla as a "martyr."
The Daily Sangram, a national Bangla daily, published a front-page report on Thursday (December 12), terming Abdul Quader Molla, assistant secretary-general of Jamaat, as a "martyr."
Quader Molla was also the executive editor of The Daily Sangram. And he was the first man convicted of war crimes in the country and was hanged in December 2013.
"We will speak with the Home Ministry on this matter," the minister added.
Quader, also the general secretary of ruling Awami League, said that the government has been trying its best to bring back the killers who took refuge in foreign lands.
"It is our promise today to thwart and defeat evil communal forces. We will take an oath to root out the scourge of communalism. We will unite the nation," he added.
Later in the day, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said the Daily Sangram has done a repulsive act by terming Abdul Kader Molla a 'Shaheed (martyr)'. He echoed Obaidul Quader and said legal action will be taken against daily Sangram.
Meanwhile, the Jatiya Party Chairman and Deputy Leader of the opposition in parliament GM Quader described the act as completely unacceptable.
He made the statement after paying tribute to the intellectual martyrs at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Mirpur, Saturday morning.
He said: "Martyrs’ death bears great significance in the history of Bangladesh, and I do not think Quader Molla's death has any connection with martyrdom for the country."
Jatiya Party also held protest rallies, strongly denouncing what the Daily Sangram has done, as the death of a war criminal nowhere falls in line with the definition of a martyr, he added.
Known as "Butcher of Mirpur" during the Liberation War, Quader Molla was hanged on December 12, 2013, for crimes against humanity including the massacre of unarmed civilians, and the killing of intellectuals in 1971.
The popular Bangla daily, widely recognized as a mouthpiece for Jamaat, commemorated the day on Thursday with a report carrying the headline: “Today is the sixth death anniversary of martyr Abdul Quader Molla.”
The report sparked protests as a group of activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student front of the ruling Awami League, burnt copies of the newspaper.
Protestors subsequently besieged and vandalised Daily Sangram’s office in Dhaka on Friday before handing the editor, Abul Asad, to the police.