They have written to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
A group of prominent South Asian writers and cultural personalities have urged the Bangladesh government to release internationally acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam from jail, marking his arrest 100 days ago on August 5.
“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,” the signatories said in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently.
Plainclothesmen had picked up Shahidul from his Dhaka residence hours after he appeared in Facebook live several times during a student movement demanding road safety in the capital.
He told the court that he was tortured in custody but his statement was not recorded, his counsel Jyotirmoy Barua had said.
Shahidul was later denied bail several times and is still in jail. There have been many pleas from across the world to have him released.
The signatories of the letter to Prime Minister Hasina also noted that Shahidul’s work and activism were respected all over the region and beyond, “with innumerable friends who admire his concern for the voiceless and marginalized.”
“Prime Minister, we the undersigned urge you to ensure the release of Shahidul Alam on this, the 100th day of his detention. We look forward to Bangladesh retaining its place as an exemplar of participatory democracy in South Asia,” the letter added.
The signatories included Akram Khan, Amar Kanwar, Amitav Ghosh, Anish Kapoor, Aparna Sen, Arundhati Roy, Ashok Vajpeyi, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Dayanita Singh, Ina Puri, Jayadeva Uyangoda, Kanak Mani Dixit, Laila Tyabji, Manjushree Thapa, Mohammed Hanif, Moushumi Bhowmik, Nandita Das, Nimalka Fernando, Patricia Mukhim, Pooja Sood, Rachana Singh, Raghu Rai, Rajdeep Sardesai, Ramchandra Guha, Romila Thapar, Salima Hashmi, Sanjay Kak, Sanjoy Hazarika, Sankha Ghosh, Shabana Azmi, Sushila Karki, Vijay Prashad, Vikram Seth, Vrinda Grover.