ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Shahbag Uprising

War Crimes and Forgiveness

The uprising at Shahbag in Dhaka is perhaps a sign that the conflict of 1971 will finally see a resolution, and that Bangladeshis, as individuals, will be able to come to terms with their violent history.

On 5 February, in a spontaneous move, thousands of young people gathered at Shahbag Mor (intersection), Dhaka, at the behest of activist-bloggers of the Bangladesh Online Activist Network (BOAN) to protest against war criminals. So intense have been the demonstrations that the Shahbag intersection has been renamed Projonmo Chottor (New Generation Roundabout), where demands are being made for justice for war crimes committed by rajakars, allies of the state of Pakistan and its army, against Bengalis during the Bangladesh War of Liberation in 1971.

It all began when the International War Crimes Tribunal found Abdul Quader Mollah – current secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh – guilty of actively participating and abetting the murder and rape of unarmed civilians and was given life-imprisonment when the expectation was a death penalty.

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