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India: Secular Democrats Speak out Against the Murder of Avijit Roy in Dhaka - statement by PADS

28 February 2015

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People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)

Press Release

28 February 2015

People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism strongly condemns the brutal murder of Mr Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi secular blogger and author on 26th February in Dhaka. His wife Ms Rafida Anwar Banna has suffered grievous injuries in the attack. Mr Roy was a popular blogger and author who wrote a number of books against religious extremism and the threat to human dignity and democracy from it. He had been on the hit list of Islamic fundamentalists for a number of years. He was advised caution but continued to put forth his views bravely in public. He was murdered while returning from a book fair after the release of his latest book. Islamic fundamentalists have been the bulwark of authoritarianism in Bangladesh even before the country became independent. They were hand in gloves with the Pakistani Army during the barbaric repression of Bangladeshi freedom movement, and have been in alliance with dictatorial regimes and authoritarian parties. They have also indulged in violence against Hindu and Buddhist religious minorities in the country. According to some reports up to twenty secular activists have been killed in Bangladesh in the past two years by Islamic fundamentalists. It is very encouraging to learn that secular forces in the country have not been cowed down by such violence, and spontaneous protests have erupted in the Shanbag square near Dhaka University against the murder of Avijit Roy.

It is increasingly becoming clear that authoritarian violent forces in many parts of the world are using religion to target non-believers and attack rights of minorities, women, and believers who do not share their fundamentalism. Murders of rationalist Narender Dhabholkar, and Communist Govind Panasare in Maharashtra, persecution of editor Shirin Dalvi, and increased vandalism against Churches, and rioting against minorities ever since Modi government took over are proof of this trend in India. People of Pakistan, many countries in the West Asia and Africa are suffering large scale violence by terrorist groups acting in the name of religion. Even a group of cartoonists in Paris have been killed. It is important that all democracy loving forces discuss and debate the public role of religion. This is possible only in a secular framework of polity, which gives equal public rights to non-believers and believers, and to believers of different faiths.

released in New Delhi

Email: info-pads at lycos.com
Telephone contact: Srinivas Rao 09393875195

Press Release by PADS against the Murder of Avijit Roy in Bangladesh
28 February 2015 - Released in New Delhi