Setting up the Ram Sathe chair in Pune, Menon was quoted in the “Times of India” as saying: “The ongoing spontaneous gathering against extremist elements and war criminals by thousands of youth at Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka shows the strength of feeling, capacity for political mobilization and open-mindedness of Bangladeshi youth.”
During his recent visit to Bangladesh, foreign minister Salman Khurshid also lend his support to the protests. Talking to journalists in Dhaka, Khurshid had said, “It’s always wonderful to see young people engage in any democratic process. They show their concern, their involvement, their aspiration, I applaud and I admire”It revives your strongest feelings and faith in democracy,” he had said then.
This is a clear move away from India’s initial stand on the issue when Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai during his trip to Dhaka described the movement as an “internal affair of Bangladesh.”
The Shahbagh protests erupted on February 5 after Bangladesh’s international war crimes tribunal sentenced Abdul Kader Molla to life imprisonment. The protesters have been on the streets ever since, their numbers swelling by the day. They are now demanding not only death for all convicted ‘war criminals’ but also a ban on the Islamic party Jamaat, whose members are believed to be collaborators with the Pakistani Army during the 1971 war.