Following the assassination of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, the protest strengthens further. Since morning, activists along with rest of the people wear black badges to mourn for Ahmed Rajib Haider. Namaaz-e-janaza for Rajib was held at around 5:53 PM in the venue after the Asr prayer. At around 5:30 PM, Rajib’s dead body arrived.
Ahmed Rajib Haider’s First Namaz-E-Janaza at Shahbag | Credit: banglanews24.com
Before the janaza, touching the coffin, people took the oath “আমরা কফিন ছুঁয়ে প্রতিজ্ঞা করছি, রাজাকারের ফাঁসি না হওয়া পর্যন্ত সংগ্রাম চালিয়ে যাবো। মৃত্যুর আগ পযর্ন্ত আমাদের সংগ্রাম অব্যাহত থাকবে। যতোদিন পর্যন্ত সব রাজাকারের ফাঁসি ও জামায়াত-শিবিরের রাজনীতি নিষিদ্ধ করা না হবে ততোদিন আমাদের আন্দোলন চলবে” which, in English, translates to “Touching the coffin, we swear, until razakars are hanged, we will continue the protest. As long as we stay alive, our protest will continue. Until all the razakars are hanged and jamaat-shibir are banned, our fight will continue”. Rajib’s maternal uncle addressed the crowd and said that the dead body belongs to the youth, the people, and called upon the attackers to appear in front of the people if they dare. Rajib’s mother, when asked by media about suspects behind the killing of her son said, nobody but the forces who opposed Bangladesh’s liberation have done this. She demanded the killers of his son caught and punished so that no mother losses her child like this.
- On Sunday, 17th February, 2013, at 10:00 AM, national flag shall be raised at half-mast and national anthem will be sung at all educational institutions around the country.
- On Monday, 18th February, 2013, protesting Jamaat’s strike, everybody shall come out on the street continue their daily activities. Additionally, people all over the country shall wear a black badge, and raise black flag on the roof of their home and offices.
Friday, 15th February 2013. The day of second grand-rally as scheduled and declared in the earlier day. First grand-rally in the history of this movement was held on 8th February at the same venue and time. It was the weekend holiday, and people started to gather and join existing crowd since the morning. By 3:00 PM, hundreds of thousands of people gathered. The stage known as Ganajagaran Manch started the program late at around 4:00 PM by singing the national anthem.
Leaders from different student organisations addressing the rally demanded justice for war-crime victims and ban on Jamaat-Shibir activities. Finally, Dr. Imran H Sarker put his speech with guidelines for the movement. It was long and detailed. Among other topics, he emphasised the need to spread the spirit the movement all around the country at root level. He declared the decision to shorten the protest schedule from 24 hours (every day) down to 7 hours, i.e. 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM which however did not last for long.
Rajib Haider Killed
Activist Rajib Haider a.k.a. Thaba Baba
Ahmed Rajib Haider, a young architect and blogger famous with the nick-name Thaba Baba was brutally stabbed and slaughtered to death by some unknown person or group while he was returning home from Shahbag. His throat and wrists were slit, in signature Chaatra Shibir (Jamaat-e-Islam’s student wing) style, and he was left to die. As soon as the news spread, activists immediately cancelled the 7 hours limit and returned back the 24 hours schedule of non-stop protest. The entire crowd stood up to 1 minute of silence to show their respect to Rajib Haider. Later in the night, Dr. Imran H Sarker claimed in front of the crowd that the assassination was carried out by Jamaat-Shibir. From there, The demand for restricting Jamaat-Shibir strengthens further. For reference, earlier in mid-January, another blogger activist Asif Mohiuddin was attacked with very similar intentions, as bloggers speculate.