KATHMANDU, Nov 14: Former chief justice Sushila Karki is among 34 eminent South Asian personalities who have demanded the release of Bangladeshi photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam .
The 34 eminent personalities have written a letter to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, demanding Alam's release .
Alam was taken forcefully from his home on August 5 and has been held at Dhaka Central Jail for the last 100 days. He is accused of 'hurting the image of the nation' while reporting on protests by young students demanding road safety. He has been denied bail five times.
“As well-wishers of Bangladesh and supporters of its 166 million citizens' struggle for dignity, social justice and prosperity, we are distressed by the continued imprisonment of photographer and cultural activist ShahidulAlam,” reads the letter. “Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi citizen, but the rest of us in South Asia are also proud to call him our own, for the values of truth, justice and social equality he promotes," the letter adds.
“It is clear to us that the case of Shahidul Alam is being used as a means to suppress criticism by others in civil society. His arrest and continued detention appear to be manifestation of an intolerant political atmosphere, an attempt to threaten and silence the voice of Bangladeshi citizens," the signatories further stated .
Arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Vikram Seth, Romila Thapar, Amitav Ghosh, Shabhana Azmi, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nandita Das, Mohammad Hanif, Anish Kapoor and other eminent persons from across South Asia have come together to write the letter to the Bangladeshi prime minister demanding the immediate release of Alam.
Other noted individuals who have joined the appeal include writer/journalist Kanak Mani Dixit (Kathmandu), singer/songwriter Moushumi Bhowmik (Kolkata), political scientist Jayadeva Uyangoda (Colombo), poet/critic Sankha Ghosh (Kolkata), historian/writer Ramchandra Guha (Bangalore), photographer Raghu Rai (Delhi) and artist Salima Hashmi (Lahore).