Fundamentalists eclipsing democracy: Slain Bangladeshi blogger’s father

Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) Alarmed over fundamentalists eclipsing democracy in his country, eminent Bangladeshi educationist Ajoy Roy, the father of slain secularist writer-blogger Avijit Roy, on Tuesday called upon the youth to stand up against the threat.

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 has been 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 farfetched to say that had Bhagat Singh been alive today and if he had written his last book ‘Why I am an Atheist’ now, may be he would have met the same fate as Govind Pansare,” said Tanika Sarkar.

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

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