Banner Advertiser

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Re: [mukto-mona] Global Media Statement on Harassment of mystic singers Bauls

Dear Saleem bhai,

You have done a great job by circulating the appeal on " Harassment, Arrest, Intimidation of Bauls threatens Freedom of Expression GLOBAL MEDIA STATEMENT" . Congratulations for this great task.
Could you do something similar on the massive rape incidents going on now in Bangladesh especially the children and many of them being killed. Think it over and do something about it.


Rosaline didi 

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 10:34:21 PM EST, Saleem Samad [mukto-mona] <> wrote:


Harassment, Arrest, Intimidation of Bauls threatens Freedom of Expression


[18 February 2020]



e, the media rights defenders of international and national freedom of expression organizations are concerned regarding the recent harassment, detention, and intimidation of the traditional Bauls, the mystic singers of Bangladesh.

In the month of January 2020, Sufi folk singer Baul Shariat Sarkar was arrested under the draconian Digital Security Act, 2018 when an Islamic cleric filed a blasphemy case against Sarkar for "stating that music is not forbidden in the Quran."

Similarly, two cases were filed against Baul Rita Dewan for "hurting religious sentiments" of the Muslims for her Pala-Gaan (logical debate through folk songs) performance. In fear of retaliation and personal harm, she long with her two young daughters made a public apology.

In both cases, the vested group is misusing the Digital Security Act, 2018, as a weapon to punish minorities of other faiths, folk singers and social media users too. If convicted, the Cyber Tribunal (Bangladesh) can give a verdict of a hefty fine and jail-term for up to seven years.

Notwithstanding, the media rights defenders had been warning the authorities about the misuse of the draconian Digital Security Act, 2018 which criminalises freedom of expression and has been applied to detain several journalists, writers, poets, publishers, and bloggers.

Surely, the Islamists are a serious threat to the Baul community as they often preach hate against the women, people of other faiths and of course music and cultural events. They intimidate the Baul singers to silence the traditional cultural heritage.

The question and answer session in Pala-Gaan used mystical and esoteric language, which may be misunderstood by the audience which focuses on external, literal interpretations of Sufi interpretation of society.

Conventionally the mystic song is an icon of rich folklore tradition, which is imbibed into Bangla heritage and must be protected as a cultural tradition.

To engage in Pala-Gaan, the mystic Sufi singers must have deep knowledge of different faiths, spiritualism, philosophy and contemporary issues.

The Bauls are essential in strengthening democracy, freedom of expression, philosophical debate, as well as tolerance in diversity.

Instead of protecting the folklore heritage, the draconian laws challenge the century-old tradition of freedom of belief and freedom of expression.

The nation-state was founded on the principles of secularism, pluralism, and equality for all to promote harmony among the diverse communities and cultural traditions of the land.

We are deeply disturbed that the intimidation on the Bauls violates the basic freedom of expression and freedom of faith.

We urge the Government of Bangladesh to protect its citizens from the radicalized religious groups.

We expect that the Government must act in upholding the unique traditions of secularism, freedom of faith, and tolerance in a bid to strengthen the visions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of Bangladesh.

Endorsed and signed by Media Rights Defenders:

  1. Dr. Aireen Jaman, General Secretary, PEN International, Bangladesh, London;
  2. Faruq Faisel, South Asia Regional Director, Article 19, London;
  3. Saleem Samad, Correspondent, Reporter Without Borders (RSF), Paris;
  4. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, CEO, VOICE, Dhaka
  5. Khairuzzaman Kamal, Representative International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels;
  6. Mainul Islam Khan, Representative, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York;
  7. Biplob Mostafiz, Member, Mukto Prakash (FExB), Media Rights Defender;
  8. Sayeed Ahmad, Representative, Front Line Defenders, Dublin, Ireland;
  9. Ahamad Ullah, Member, Bangladesh Manabadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF), Dhaka;
  10. GM Mourtaza, CEO, CCD Bangladesh; Rajshahi.
  11. Jana Syeda Gulshan Ferdous,

For more information, please contact Saleem Samad: +88-01711-530207; Faruq Faisel: +88-01730-710267, or send emails:;

Joy Manush! Humanity First!

Ashoka Fellow (USA)
Recipient of Hellman-Hammett Award, 2005
General Secretary: Forum for Freedom of Expression, Bangladesh - #FExB
+8801711-530207 phone

+1-718-713-4364 ePhone
+1-863-774-1849 eFax

Twitter: @saleemsamad

Skype: saleemsamad



P Save a tree, think before you print this e-mail


Posted by: costa rosie <>

Mukto Mona plans for a Grand Darwin Day Celebration: 
Call For Articles:




"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