KATHMANDU, Nov 13: Former Chief Justice of Nepal, Sushila Karki is one of the 34 eminent South Asians who has demanded the release of photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam.
The 34 eminent South Asians have written a letter to Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed demanding the release of Shahidul Alam.
Alam was forcefully taken 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.
The letter states: “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.”
The letter notes: “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 signatories state further: “It is clear to us that the case of ShahidulAlam 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."
Arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Vikram Seth, Romila Thapar, Amitav Ghosh, Shabhana Azmi, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nandita Das, Mohammad Hanif, Anish Kapoor among other eminent persons from across South Asia have come together to write a letter to Bangladeshi Prime Minister demanding the immediate release Alam.
Other distinguished persons who have joined this appeal include 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).