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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

World

Indians worry for relatives as turmoil grips Bangladesh
Avijit Ghosal and Ravik Bhattacharya , Hindustan Times
Petrapole, March 04, 2013
First Published: 01:44 IST(4/3/2013)
Last Updated: 01:46 IST(4/3/2013)

The Shahbag Square movement of Bangladesh -with its continuing clashes that claimed 60 lives - has evoked strong emotions on this side of the border.

While resistance groups against Jaamat-i-Islami have come up across Bangladesh, the civil society in India lent full support with a march on Sunday at the Benapol-Petrapol border, 110 km from Kolkata.

The Bangladeshi citizens responded with equal vigour. Anti-Jaamat chants signified the unity of 'Opar Bangla' and 'Epar Bangla' and flags and leaflets were exchanged.

The neighbouring country had slipped into turmoil in February over the death sentences to Jaamat leaders for their crimes during the 1971 liberation movement.

On the Indian side, the border town of Bongaon is worried. Many here crossed over from Bangladesh during the partition and the 1971 war. Now, not only are they reliving old horrors, but they also are worried about their relatives across the border.

Bibhas Roychowdhury, who attended the rally, has two maternal uncles in Jessore, 10 km from the Bongaon border.

"There are many like us whose relatives in Bangladesh are under threat," he said.

"We just want to say pro-democracy people in Bangladesh are not alone. We have been with them in the 70s and we are with them now," said Diptiman Basu, coordinator of the Facebook page 'Shahbag Er Pashe Amrao Achi', one of 20 groups and organisations who participated in the rally.

Already in Bangladesh, a call to arms has been given from Shahbag Square and in Chittagong, Rajshahi, Jessore and Dhaka, which saw armed Jaamat cadres take on pro-democracy supporters.


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