The Supreme Court verdict that awarded capital punishment to Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla set off an eruption of cheers among the activists of Shahbagh’s Ganajagaran Mancha on Tuesday.
Nearly a hundred elated activists and supporters of the Mancha cheered and clapped as the news of the appellate division’s judgment reached Shahbagh while some of them were seen distributing sweets to mark the occasion.
Later in the afternoon, the Ganajagaran Mancha brought out a victory procession that paraded different streets on and around the Dhaka University campus before ending at Shahbagh.
Addressing a post-procession rally, convener of the Mancha, Imran H Sarkar thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the verdict, saying: “The government has kept its promise by holding trials of war criminals in line with Awami League’s electoral pledges.”
“We had taken to the streets and been there for seven long months for this verdict. This verdict has justified our longstanding movement. We now believe that we would be able to pay off the debt to three million martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the country,” he said.
The Shahbagh movement had erupted in early February, fuelled by broad public anger over International
Crimes Tribunal’s ruling that had sentenced Quader Molla to life imprisonment for war crimes. Within hours of the verdict, hundreds of angry protesters gathered at Shahbagh intersection demanding Molla be sentenced to death.
The gathering drew crowds from all walks of life and swelled to 200,000 at one stage, according to some estimates.