Arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Romilla 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 Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed demanding the immediate release of acclaimed photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam on the 100th day of his detention.

shahidul alam
Shahid-ul Alam being forcefully taken away from his home

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 Shahidul Alam.”

Alam was forcefully taken from his home on 5th August 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 5 times.

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.”

Other distinguished persons who have joined this appeal include singer/songwriter Moushumi Bhowmik (Kolkata), Former Nepal Chief Justice Sushila Karki (Kathmandu), political scientist Jayadeva Uyangoda (Colombo), poet/critic Sankha Ghosh (Kolkata), historian/writer Ramchandra Guha (Bangalore), photographer Raghu Rai (Delhi), artist Salima Hashmi (Lahore) photographer Dayanita Singh (Delhi) among others.

The signatories state further: “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 letter comes on the 100th Day of Shahidul Alam’s imprisonment.

Please find full text of letter in attachment and full list of signatories as below;

List of signatories:

  1. Akram Khan, London

  2. Amar Kanwar, New Delhi

  3. Amitav Ghosh, Goa

  4. Anish Kapoor, London

  5. Aparna Sen, Kolkata

  6. Arundhati Roy, New Delhi

  7. Ashok Vajpeyi, New Delhi

  8. Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Kolkata

  9. Dayanita Singh, New Delhi

  10. Ina Puri, Kolkata

  11. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Colombo

  12. Kanak Mani Dixit, Kathmandu

  13. Laila Tyabji, New Delhi;

  14. Manjushree Thapa, Toronto

  15. Mohammed Hanif, Karachi

  16. Moushumi Bhowmik, Kolkata

  17. Nandita Das, Kolkata

  18. Nimalka Fernando, Colombo

  19. Patricia Mukhim, Shillong

  20. Pooja Sood, New Delhi

  21. Rachana Singh, New Delhi

  22. Raghu Rai, New Delhi

  23. Rajdeep Sardesai, New Delhi

  24. Ramchandra Guha, Bangalore

  25. Romilla Thapar, New Delhi

  26. Salima Hashmi, Lahore

  27. Sanjay Kak, New Delhi

  28. Sanjoy Hazarika, Shillong

  29. Sankha Ghosh, Kolkata

  30. Shabana Azmi, Mumbai

  31. Sushila Karki, Kathmandu

  32. Vijay Prashad, New Delhi

  33. Vrinda Grover, New Delhi

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