Tuesday December 18, 2018
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Fundamentalists eclipsing democracy in Bangladesh

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Kolkata: Expressing concern over the atrocious rise of fundamentalist power in Bangladesh eminent Ajoy Roy, the father of slain secularist writer-blogger Avijit Roy, on Tuesday urged the youth to thwart the threat and uphold democracy.

Participating in a discussion on “Intolerance and Democracy” at Calcutta University, Ajoy Roy said Bangladesh was going through tough times where fundamentalists were running the show and wiping out the secular fabric and democracy in the country.

“Fundamentalists have now eclipsed free thinking and are now devouring the society. If we don’t stand up now, then I have to say, Bangladesh’s democracy is in real danger.”

“There is no alternative unless stopped, they will wipe out secularism, they will wipe out democracy,” he said.

Expressing deep anguish and grief over the killing of his son and other bloggers, Roy urged the youth to stand up against communal forces and take up arms if the need be.

“Our only hope now is the youth. But then, only writing or words will not suffice. We need to build a movement, we need to hit the streets. The onus is now on the youth to carry forward the legacy of our freedom fighters and save our country.”

“If the need be, they (youth) should be ready to take up arms against these elements.”

“When fundamentalists are charging towards you with swords, how do you counter them? You need to talk to them in a language which they understand,” he exhorted.

Besides Avijit Roy, three other bloggers — Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das and Niladri Chatterjee Niloy — were hacked to death by Islamist militants.

All four bloggers were involved with the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’, a movement demanding maximum penalty for those who committed war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh freedom struggle and a ban on religion-based politics.

On the occasion, historians Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar expressed grave concern over the growing influence of Hindutva outfits, including the RSS and the VHP, and asserted intolerance was steadily rising since the advent of the Narendra Modi government.

“As writers or historians, we don’t know which of our work will enrage the Hindutva outfits and we will have to face their wrath.

“It would not be far-fetched to say that had Bhagat Singh been alive today and if he had written his last book ‘Why I am an Atheist’ now, maybe he would have met the same fate as Govind Pansare,” said Tanika Sarkar.

Referring to the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, Tanika Sarkar congratulated all those who had returned their awards in protests against the growing intolerance.(IANS)

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Parliament Summoned Amidst Of Political Crisis In Sri Lanka

Wickremesinghe had also demanded the convening of Parliament, saying he still controls a majority of lawmakers.

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Sri Lankan civil rights activists hold placards during a demonstration outside the official residence of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Sri Lanka’s president is ordering Parliament to reconvene Nov. 14, when lawmakers will get the chance to hold a confidence vote on the nation’s former strongman who has been named prime minister.

The announcement made in a decree Sunday comes amid a political crisis in the South Asian island nation.

sri lanka, parliament
Sri Lankan former President Mahinda Rajapakse addresses journalists at his residence in Colombo, Sept. 22, 2018. Rajapakse has been appointed the Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. VOA

President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa last month. He also suspended Parliament in an apparent attempt to give Rajapaksa time to muster support to survive any no-confidence vote.

Political opponents, rights groups and foreign governments including United States have urged Sirisena to summon the houses immediately and end the crisis.

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Wickremesinghe had also demanded the convening of Parliament, saying he still controls a majority of lawmakers. (VOA)