Bangladesh news coverage this month has been dominated by demonstrations in Dakha demanding stiffer sentences for war criminals from the country’s 1971 Liberation War. Now, hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis have been gathering as they also seek justice for the killing of Ahmed Rajib Haider, a blogger who helped organize the war crimes protests. Haider was one of a coalition of bloggers who used their websites to rail against the Islamist Jamaat-e -Islami party, whose membership included the war criminals.
Haider’s body was found brutally stabbed February 15 near his home, according to a report in the New York Times. The blogger’s family said his death was payback for mobilizing the protests, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has personally promised the family that the government “will not spare the killers.”
Haider’s influence, under the penname Thaba Baba, shows the effect social media can have, with its unmatched ability to quickly reach masses. The protests stemmed from bloggers howling over the issuance of a life sentence, rather than the death penalty, for the war criminals.With the recent killing, it seems protesters are only more motivated.
“Haider’s death has rekindled our spirits,” said demonstrator Nasiruddin Yusuf. “[His death] will not go in vain.”