South Asia

Sri Lanka Urged Not to Violate Fundamental Rights in the Name of Combating Terror

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:

  • We 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.
  • We protest attempts to target or persecute those of the Islamic faith, in the name of countering terror, whether by the state or vigilante groups.
  • We 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.
  • We affirm the resilience of diverse cultural and religious traditions in the region that have fostered long standing 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

  1. Massihullah, Kabul Afghanistan
  2. Sima Samar, Afghanistan

Nepal

  1. Anju Kandel, Nepal
  2. Deepa Gurung, Nepal
  3. Hari Sharma, Kathmandu, Nepal
  4. Kaalo.101, Nepal
  5. Kanak Mani Dixit, Kathmandu
  6. Kunda Dixit, Kathmandu, Nepal
  7. NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Kathmandu, Nepal
  8. Niranjan Kunwar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  9. Sarita K.C, Nepal

India

  1. Mangai, India
  2. Abha Bhaiya, India
  3. Abirami Jotheeswaran, India
  4. Amar Kanwar, New Delhi, India
  5. Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times, India
  6. Anuradha Kapoor, India
  7. Arundathi V, India
  8. Ashish kumar Dey, India
  9. Bindu Doddahatti, India
  10. Deepti Sharma, New Delhi, India
  11. Dia Da Costa, India
  12. Dipta Bhog, India
  13. Farida Khan, India
  14. Forum Against Oppression of Women, India
  15. Geetha V, India
  16. Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, India
  17. Indu Vashist, India/Canada
  18. Iram Saeed, India
  19. Jinee Lokaneeta, India/USA
  20. K, Lalita, India
  21. Kamla Bhasin, India
  22. Khalida Saleem, India
  23. Madhu Mehra, India
  24. Mamta Singh, Women Right Activist, India
  25. Mary John, India
  26. Maya Sharma Vikalp (Women’s Group) , India
  27. Meena Gopal, India
  28. Meera Velayudhan, India
  29. Mohan Rao, India
  30. Mrinalini R, India
  31. Nandini Manjrekar, India
  32. Nandita Shah, India
  33. Nastasia Paul Gera, India
  34. Neelanjana Mukhia, India
  35. Neeraj Malik, India
  36. Nupur Basu, India
  37. Pam Philipose, India
  38. Panchali Ray, New Delhi, India
  39. Ponni Arasu, India
  40. Poonam Batra, India
  41. Prathama Raghavan, Hyderabad, India
  42. Rafiul Alom Rahman, India
  43. Ramakant Agnohotri, India
  44. Rita Manchanda, India
  45. Ritu Dewan, India
  46. Ritu Menon, India
  47. Roshmi Goswami, India
  48. Sabeena Gadihoke, India
  49. Sahba Hussain, India
  50. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi, India
  51. Sameera Iyengar, India
  52. Sara Abraham, India
  53. Shohini Ghosh, India
  54. Shrimoyee N, Ghosh, India
  55. Snigdha Chakraborty, India
  56. Sujata Patel, India
  57. Svati Shah, India/USA
  58. Swarna Rajagopalan, India
  59. Tanvi Mishra, New Delhi, India
  60. The Queer Muslim Project, India
  61. Uma Chakravarty, India
  62. Vanita Nayak Mukherjee, India
  63. Veena Shatrughna, India
  64. Mamatha Karollil, India
  65. Afshana Bano, India
  66. Supriya Madangarli, India

Pakistan

  1. Abeera Tanveer, Pakistan
  2. Ailya Khan, Pakistan
  3. Ajwah Nadeem, Pakistan
  4. Aminah Waheed Chaudhry, Pakistan
  5. Ammar Ali Jan, Pakistan
  6. Amna Durrani, Pakistan
  7. Amna Iqbal, Pakistan
  8. Amna Mawaz, Pakistan
  9. Anis Haroon, Pakistan
  10. Anoosha Shaigan, Pakistan
  11. Arooj Aurangzeb, Pakistan
  12. Asma Malik, Pakistan
  13. Awami Workers Party, Punjab
  14. Ayra Indrias, Pakistan
  15. Baila Anjum, Lahore, Pakistan
  16. Basmina, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  17. Beena Sarwar, Pakistan
  18. Beenish Muhammad Ali, Pakistan
  19. Bonnie Mende
  20. Candas Anjum, Pakistan
  21. Qasim Iqbal, NAZ Pakistan
  22. Faiz Younas, Pakistan
  23. Farida Batool, Pakistan
  24. Farida Shaheed, Pakistan
  25. Fatema Bhaiji, Pakistan
  26. Fatima A. Athar, Pakistan
  27. Fatima Butt, Pakistan
  28. FemSoc at LUMS, Pakistan
  29. Feroza Batool , Pakistan
  30. Fiza Khatri, Pakistan
  31. Furhan Hussain, Pakistan
  32. Ghausia  Rashid Salam, Pakistan
  33. Ghazala Anwar, Pakistan
  34. Gwendolyn S. Kirk, USA/Pakistan
  35. Hadi Hussain, Pakistan
  36. Hameeda Hossain, Pakistan
  37. Have Only Positive Expectations — HOPE, Pakistan
  38. Hiba Akbar, Pakistan
  39. Hira Mohmand, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  40. Huma Fouladi, Pakistan
  41. Huma Majeed, Pakistan
  42. Humraz society,  Karachi, Pakistan
  43. Jamaima Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  44. Jawad Anwar, Pakistan
  45. Kashmala Dilawar, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  46. Khawar Mumtaz, Pakistan
  47. Khushbakht Memon, Pakistan
  48. Kishwar Sultana, Pakistan
  49. Kyla Pasha, Pakistan
  50. Lubna Chaudhry
  51. Madiha Latif, Pakistan
  52. Maheen Asif Khan, Pakistan
  53. Malik Moeed, Pakistan
  54. Manal Yousuf, Pakistan
  55. Mani AQ, Pakistan
  56. Maria Rashid, Pakistan
  57. Maryam Hussain, Pakistan
  58. Maryum Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  59. Masooma Fatima, Pakistan
  60. Mehlab Jameel, Pakistan
  61. Melanie D’souza, Pakistan
  62. Momina Jahan, Pakistan
  63. Momina Pasha, Pakistan
  64. Muaaz Ali, Pakistan
  65. Naazish Ata-Ullah, Pakistan
  66. Nabiha Meher Shaikh, Pakistan
  67. Nageen Hyat, Pakistan
  68. Naheed Aziz, Pakistan
  69. Naila Naz, Pakistan
  70. Nasim Begum, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  71. Nasreen Rahman, Pakistan
  72. Neelam Hussain, Pakistan
  73. Nighat Dad, Pakistan
  74. Nighat Said Khan, Pakistan
  75. Nimra Akram, Pakistan
  76. Noreen Naseer Pakistan
  77. O Collective, Pakistan
  78. Omer Arshad, Pakistan
  79. Outcast Magazine, Pakistan
  80. Palvashay Sethi, Pakistan
  81. Queer Karachi, Pakistan
  82. Quratulain Faraz, Pakistan
  83. Rafia Asim, Pakistan
  84. Rahma Muhammad Mian, Karachi
  85. Roohi Khan, Pakistan
  86. Rubina Saigol, Pakistan
  87. Rukhsana Rashid, Pakistan
  88. Saadia Haq, Pakistan
  89. Saadia Toor, USA/Pakistan
  90. Saba Gul Khattak, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  91. Sabeen Andleeb, Pakistan
  92. Sadaf Aziz, Pakistan
  93. Sadia Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  94. Sadia Khatri, Karachi, Pakistan
  95. Saima Jasam, Pakistan
  96. Saima Munir, Pakistan
  97. Saleha Rauf, Pakistan
  98. Saman Rizvi, Pakistan
  99. Samavia Malik, Pakistan
  100. Samina Orakzai, Pakistan
  101. Samina Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  102. Sana Naeem, Pakistan
  103. Sarah Humayun, Pakistan
  104. Sarah Suhail, Pakistan
  105. Sarah Zaman, Pakistan
  106. Sehrish Tariq, Pakistan
  107. Shafeeq Gigyani, Peshawar Pakistan
  108. Shagufta Rehmat, Pakistan
  109. Shazia Shaheen, Pakistan
  110. Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre, Pakistan
  111. Shmyla Khan, Pakistan
  112. Shumaila Kausar, Pakistan
  113. Shumaila Shahani, Pakistan
  114. Syed Raza Haider, Pakistan
  115. Tabitha Spence, Pakistan
  116. Tahira Kaleem, Peshawar, Pakistan
  117. Tehreem Azeem, Pakistan
  118. The Enlight Lab, Pakistan
  119. Wafa Asher, Pakistan
  120. Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan
  121. Yusra, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  122. Zahra Durrani, Pakistan
  123. Zakia Majid, Pakistan
  124. Zeenat Afridi, Pakistan – Afghan Border
  125. Zeenia Shaukat, Pakistan
  126. Zehra Keshf, Pakistan
  127. Ambreen Ahmad, Pakistan

Bangladesh

  1. Amena Mohsin, Dhaka Bangladesh
  2. Anusheh Anadil, Dhaka , Bangladesh
  3. Arup Rahee, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  4. Adilur Rahman Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  5. Dr Asif Nazrul, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  6. Dr Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  7. Dr Ridwanul Hoque, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  8. Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  9. Faustina Pereira, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  10. Shahidul Alam, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  11. Shahnaz Huda, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  12. Fahmidul Haq, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  13. Firdous Azim, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  14. Galiba Rabbani, Bangladesh
  15. Gitiara Nasreen, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  16. Hana Shams Ahmed, Bangladesh/Canada
  17. Inclusive Bangladesh, Bangladesh
  18. Khushi Kabir, Bangladesh
  19. Nur Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  20. Meghna Guhathakurta, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  21. Mirza Taslima Sultana, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  22. Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  23. Mohammed Iqbal Hossaion, Bangladesh
  24. Monika Biswas, Bangladesh
  25. Perween Hasan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  26. Rahnuma Ahmed, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  27. Reetu Sattar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  28. Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  29. Rina Roy, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  30. Selima Sara Kabir, Bangladesh
  31. Shaheen Anam, Bangladesh
  32. Shamsul Huda, Bangladesh
  33. Sharnila Nuzhat Kabir, Bangladesh
  34. Shireen P Huq, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  35. Sultana Kamal, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  36. Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Bangladesh

Others

  1. Aurangzaib Alizai, Thailand
  2. Kumkum Dey, New Jersey
  3. Rumah Pelangi Indonesia
Join The Discussion