They demanded that the Act be repealed, those arrested on charges under it be released and the victims compensated.
The demonstrators on Friday also announced a march towards the Prime Minister’s Office from the National Press Club on Mar 3 morning, calling the writer’s death “murder”.
“Writer Mushtaq Ahmed has been murdered. The government, law-enforcing agencies and others involved with the Digital Security Act are responsible for this,” said Zafrullah Chowdhury, trustee of the Gonoshasthaya Kendra.
He urged the judges to come forward and declare that the Act infringes on basic rights. “Otherwise, you too will have to flee through the backdoor. Digital Act cannot help the government retain power,” he said at the rally.
Asif Nazrul, a professor of law at Dhaka University, also said those who made and implemented the Digital Security Act bear the responsibility for the death of Mushtaq.
Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, a professor of the university’s international relations department, said the death of Mushtaq has proved that the Digital Security Act can not only hamper the right to free speech, but it also can take away life.
“An innocent man did not get bail after applying six times while plunderers, corrupt people and killers are sent abroad under special arrangements,” he said.
“The death of Mushtaq is a sign that the government is not of the people,” said Zunayed Saki, chief coordinator of the Ganasanghati Andolan.
Nurul Haque Nur, former vice-president of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union, called for unity against the Digital Security Act. “Otherwise we all will face the same fate as Mushtaq Ahmed’s.”
Akhtar Hossain, former social services secretary of DUCSU, administered the funeral prayers. Faruk Hasan, joint convenor of the Bangladesh Council to Protect General Students’ Rights, was also present.