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Sri Lanka urged not to violate fundamental rights in the name of combating terror

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Image: Top row (from left): Sima Samar, Kanak Mani Dixit, Hamida Hossain. Bottom row (from left): Uma Chakravarti, Shahidul Alam, Pamela Philipose, Beena Sarwar.

Activists, academics and journalists from across South Asia have issued a statement in solidarity with the artists, thinkers and ordinary people of Sri Lanka.

New Delhi: In view of the recent wave of bombings in Sri Lanka, in which over 250 people were killed, a group of 243 activists, academics and journalists from all across South Asia have issued a statement in solidarity with the artists, thinkers and ordinary people of Sri Lanka.The signatories, as the statement says, have been at the forefront of facing the wrath of similar realities in their respective nation-states for decades.They include human rights activists from Afghanistan and Bangladesh, journalists from Nepal, Pakistan and India, and historians and feminists from India and Pakistan, among many others.

Read the full text below:

We the undersigned, who are from and live in the various nation-states of South Asia, express our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. We express our solidarity with those working tirelessly to address the needs of the injured in the aftermath of this carnage and to sustain interfaith and community relationships.

While we support all justice efforts that seek to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable, we also urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that, in the name of combating terror and ensuring national security, fundamental human rights and dignity of all concerned are not violated.

We say this because in all our countries, investigations into terror and anti-terror legislation have been accompanied by consistent and continuing violation of civil and democratic rights. Furthermore, in the name of ensuring national security, successive governments in the region have sought to legitimise their various acts of impunity – directed against not only purported or possible suspects but entire sections of the civilian population. This has led to unaccountable loss of life and a steady erosion of democratic guarantees and institutions, including unaccounted for deaths and disappearances.

We note with concern that media reports and remarks by state officials and political leaders in Sri Lanka have pointed to State inaction with respect to warnings by intelligence agencies about possible acts of terror. Such inaction and indifference, we regret to note, amounts to State complicity with the violence that subsequently unfolded.We are also concerned that the ‘owning up’ to these acts by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (Daesh) might encourage Islamophobic attitudes and expressions, both on the part of the Sri Lankan Government and sections of civil society. Should this happen, Sri Lanka would be tragically drawn in to a familiar international discourse and practice to do with ‘Islamic terror’ with all the resultant tragedies, as we have witnessed across Asia. In a country that has barely recovered from decades of civil mistrust, war and violence, this cannot bode well for its sovereignty, civil peace and economic and social life.

We wish to point out that the so-called war on ‘Islamic terror’ has resulted in large numbers of the Islamic faith being persecuted, both in their countries and across the world – and this sadly only enhances the appeal of those who seek to wage war in the name of Islam and what they perceive as Islamic concerns and interests. Thus is set in motion a cycle of violence that benefits no one but the arms trade and industries, and political powers that seek to establish their hegemony in the region at all costs.

In this context:

nWe support all struggles to ensure transparent and fair pursuit of justice for the victims of the blast. At the same time, we stand with those who are against undemocratic anti-terror laws in Sri Lanka, even if they are purportedly deployed for purposes of investigation and national security.

nWe protest attempts to target or persecute those of the Islamic faith, in the name of countering terror, whether by the state or vigilante groups.

nWe support Muslim communities in the region that have called for peace and are critical of voices from within that endorse extremist religious positions, which polarise everyday life and interactions, and vitiate meaningful dissent and dialogue.

nWe affirm the resilience of diverse cultural and religious traditions in the region that have fostered longstanding habits of mutuality, trust and co-existence. We do not wish for the specificity of local beliefs and traditions, of all faiths, to be drawn into polarising global discourses of religious ‘unity’ and ‘singularity’ imposed from above.

List of signatories:

Afghanistan

Massihullah, Kabul Afghanistan

Sima Samar, Afghanistan

Nepal

Anju Kandel, Nepal

Deepa Gurung, Nepal

Hari Sharma, Kathmandu, Nepal

Kaalo.101, Nepal

Kanak Mani Dixit, Kathmandu

Kunda Dixit, Kathmandu, Nepal

NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Kathmandu, Nepal

Niranjan Kunwar, Kathmandu, Nepal

Sarita K.C, Nepal

India

Mangai, India

Abha Bhaiya, India

Abirami Jotheeswaran, India

Amar Kanwar, New Delhi, India

Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times, India

Anuradha Kapoor, India

Arundathi V, India

Ashish kumar Dey, India

Bindu Doddahatti, India

Deepti Sharma, New Delhi, India

Dia Da Costa, India

Dipta Bhog, India

Farida Khan, India

Forum Against Oppression of Women, India

Geetha V, India

Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, India

Indu Vashist, India/Canada

Iram Saeed, India

Jinee Lokaneeta, India/USA

K, Lalita, India

Kamla Bhasin, India

Khalida Saleem, India

Madhu Mehra, India

Mamta Singh, Women Right Activist, India

Mary John, India

Maya Sharma Vikalp (Women’s Group), India

Meena Gopal, India

Meera Velayudhan, India

Mohan Rao, India

Mrinalini R, India

Nandini Manjrekar, India

Nandita Shah, India

Nastasia Paul Gera, India

Neelanjana Mukhia, India

Neeraj Malik, India

Nupur Basu, India

Pam Philipose, India

Panchali Ray, New Delhi, India

Ponni Arasu, India

Poonam Batra, India

Prathama Raghavan, Hyderabad, India

Rafiul Alom Rahman, India

Ramakant Agnohotri, India

Rita Manchanda, India

Ritu Dewan, India

Ritu Menon, India

Roshmi Goswami, India

Sabeena Gadihoke, India

Sahba Hussain, India

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi, India

Sameera Iyengar, India

Sara Abraham, India

Shohini Ghosh, India

Shrimoyee N, Ghosh, India

Snigdha Chakraborty, India

Sujata Patel, India

Svati Shah, India/USA

Swarna Rajagopalan, India

Tanvi Mishra, New Delhi, India

The Queer Muslim Project, India

Uma Chakravarty, India

Vanita Nayak Mukherjee, India

Veena Shatrughna, India

Mamatha Karollil, India

Afshana Bano, India

Supriya Madangarli, India

Pakistan

Abeera Tanveer, Pakistan

Ailya Khan, Pakistan

Ajwah Nadeem, Pakistan

Aminah Waheed Chaudhry, Pakistan

Ammar Ali Jan, Pakistan

Amna Durrani, Pakistan

Amna Iqbal, Pakistan

Amna Mawaz, Pakistan

Anis Haroon, Pakistan

Anoosha Shaigan, Pakistan

Arooj Aurangzeb, Pakistan

Asma Malik, Pakistan

Awami Workers Party, Punjab

Ayra Indrias, Pakistan

Baila Anjum, Lahore, Pakistan

Basmina, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Beena Sarwar, Pakistan

Beenish Muhammad Ali, Pakistan

Bonnie Mende

Candas Anjum, Pakistan

Qasim Iqbal, NAZ Pakistan

Faiz Younas, Pakistan

Farida Batool, Pakistan

Farida Shaheed, Pakistan

Fatema Bhaiji, Pakistan

Fatima A. Athar, Pakistan

Fatima Butt, Pakistan

FemSoc at LUMS, Pakistan

Feroza Batool, Pakistan

Fiza Khatri, Pakistan

Furhan Hussain, Pakistan

Ghausia Rashid Salam, Pakistan

Ghazala Anwar, Pakistan

Gwendolyn S. Kirk, USA/Pakistan

Hadi Hussain, Pakistan

Hameeda Hossain, Pakistan

Have Only Positive Expectations – HOPE, Pakistan

Hiba Akbar, Pakistan

Hira Mohmand, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Huma Fouladi, Pakistan

Huma Majeed, Pakistan

Humraz society, Karachi, Pakistan

Jamaima Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Jawad Anwar, Pakistan

Kashmala Dilawar, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Khawar Mumtaz, Pakistan

Khushbakht Memon, Pakistan

Kishwar Sultana, Pakistan

Kyla Pasha, Pakistan

Lubna Chaudhry

Madiha Latif, Pakistan

Maheen Asif Khan, Pakistan

Malik Moeed, Pakistan

Manal Yousuf, Pakistan

Mani AQ, Pakistan

Maria Rashid, Pakistan

Maryam Hussain, Pakistan

Maryum Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Masooma Fatima, Pakistan

Mehlab Jameel, Pakistan

Melanie D’souza, Pakistan

Momina Jahan, Pakistan

Momina Pasha, Pakistan

Muaaz Ali, Pakistan

Naazish Ata-Ullah, Pakistan

Nabiha Meher Shaikh, Pakistan

Nageen Hyat, Pakistan

Naheed Aziz, Pakistan

Naila Naz, Pakistan

Nasim Begum, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Nasreen Rahman, Pakistan

Neelam Hussain, Pakistan

Nighat Dad, Pakistan

Nighat Said Khan, Pakistan

Nimra Akram, Pakistan

Noreen Naseer Pakistan

O Collective, Pakistan

Omer Arshad, Pakistan

Outcast Magazine, Pakistan

Palvashay Sethi, Pakistan

Queer Karachi, Pakistan

Quratulain Faraz, Pakistan

Rafia Asim, Pakistan

Rahma Muhammad Mian, Karachi

Roohi Khan, Pakistan

Rubina Saigol, Pakistan

Rukhsana Rashid, Pakistan

Saadia Haq, Pakistan

Saadia Toor, USA/Pakistan

Saba Gul Khattak, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Sabeen Andleeb, Pakistan

Sadaf Aziz, Pakistan

Sadia Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Sadia Khatri, Karachi, Pakistan

Saima Jasam, Pakistan

Saima Munir, Pakistan

Saleha Rauf, Pakistan

Saman Rizvi, Pakistan

Samavia Malik, Pakistan

Samina Orakzai, Pakistan

Samina Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Sana Naeem, Pakistan

Sarah Humayun, Pakistan

Sarah Suhail, Pakistan

Sarah Zaman, Pakistan

Sehrish Tariq, Pakistan

Shafeeq Gigyani, Peshawar Pakistan

Shagufta Rehmat, Pakistan

Shazia Shaheen, Pakistan

Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre, Pakistan

Shmyla Khan, Pakistan

Shumaila Kausar, Pakistan

Shumaila Shahani, Pakistan

Syed Raza Haider, Pakistan

Tabitha Spence, Pakistan

Tahira Kaleem, Peshawar, Pakistan

Tehreem Azeem, Pakistan

The Enlight Lab, Pakistan

Wafa Asher, Pakistan

Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan

Yusra, Pakistan-Afghan Border

Zahra Durrani, Pakistan

Zakia Majid, Pakistan

Zeenat Afridi, Pakistan – Afghan Border

Zeenia Shaukat, Pakistan

Zehra Keshf, Pakistan

Ambreen Ahmad, Pakistan

Bangladesh

Amena Mohsin, Dhaka Bangladesh

Anusheh Anadil, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Arup Rahee, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Adilur Rahman Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dr Asif Nazrul, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dr Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dr Ridwanul Hoque, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Faustina Pereira, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shahidul Alam, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shahnaz Huda, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Fahmidul Haq, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Firdous Azim, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Galiba Rabbani, Bangladesh

Gitiara Nasreen, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Hana Shams Ahmed, Bangladesh/Canada

Inclusive Bangladesh, Bangladesh

Khushi Kabir, Bangladesh

Nur Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Meghna Guhathakurta, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mirza Taslima Sultana, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mohammed Iqbal Hossaion, Bangladesh

Monika Biswas, Bangladesh

Perween Hasan, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Rahnuma Ahmed, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Reetu Sattar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Rina Roy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Selima Sara Kabir, Bangladesh

Shaheen Anam, Bangladesh

Shamsul Huda, Bangladesh

Sharnila Nuzhat Kabir, Bangladesh

Shireen P Huq, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sultana Kamal, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Bangladesh

Others

Aurangzaib Alizai, Thailand

Kumkum Dey, New Jersey

Rumah Pelangi Indonesia

(Source: https://thewire.in/south-asia/sri-lanka-urged-not-to-violate-fundamental-rights-in-the-name-of-combating-terror.)

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