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Sunday, March 1, 2015

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

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

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

Telephone contact: Srinivas Rao 09393875195

Posted by: Harsh Kapoor <>

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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
-Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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