WAR HEROES RETURN
They had fought and won a war 42 years ago. But, motivated by the young protesters of Shahbagh, they have joined a second war. This time, the freedom fighters wish to finish the fight once and for all.
“Those who nourish the spirit of 1971 cannot just watch the movement on television. If justice is not done this time, our country will never be free of stigma,” says freedom fighter SM Idris Hossain.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, he said he fought the Liberation War under sector number two during.
“The spirit and the energy of the Shahbagh movement brought me to the streets,” said Idris, form Demra. He added the Shahbagh intersection had been his home for the last seven days.
Freedom fighter Nazrul Islam could not stay at his Gaibandha home any further. He watched on TV history happening at Shahbagh in the capital for the first three days till February 7.
“This movement has regenerated in me the feeling of battlefield of 1971. I believe it is the youths who hold the torch of the nation,” he said, vowing not to leave the protest venue until their demands were met.
“We fought the war of 1971 with guns and tanks, but we could not eliminate the collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces. Now, together with the young generation, we can rid the nation of the Pakistani ghosts [Razakars and war criminals],” said Rabiul Hasan.
He said he fought under sector number seven during the 1971 war. He came form Khulna to join the movement on February 11, and said he would not go home until justice was delivered.
Ansari Ahmed, another freedom fighter, has made the Shahbagh intersection his home since February 6, the day after the movement began. “No nation with a disgraceful history can move forward. We cannot think of building our dream nation until we wipe out such a past.”
SM Alam Hiru said he took up guns in 1971 to free the country from Pakistani repression. But the young generation has put up a new fight, a fight to ensure justice.
He is with the movement form day one. “What amazes me most is the strong nationalism and patriotism of the young generation.”
Milon Roy, another freedom fighter, said, “We have come here so the young generation knows that the nation is with them.”
He too joined the movement on the very first day. He initially thought to spend five hours every day on the street. “But I cannot leave the place when I see the vigour of the youths.”
Since February 6, he has been at the protest venue for at least 12 hours every day.
FEBRUARY 16, 2013