Vol. 4 Num 269 Sun. February 29, 2004  
Front Page

Nation in fury

Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday strongly denounced Friday's heinous attack on eminent litterateur and educationist Humayun Azad.

"The attack on Professor Azad unleashed by government-patronised terrorists is a serious blow to freedom of speech, right to expression of opinion and exercise of freethinking," she said in a statement.

The leader of opposition in parliament alleged Azad came under attack as he used his mighty pen against those who wanted to make the country dependent once again and were resorting to rape, harassment, torture and killing.

Azad was brutally chopped with butcher's knives Friday night in front of Bangla Academy.

The atrocity, allegedly committed by religious bigots, outraged the entire nation, especially its civil society, progressive political quarters and intelligentsia.

A number of political parties, numerous organisations and eminent personalities yesterday tersely condemned the gory attack and blasted the government for failing to contain the ever-increasing violence.

Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) in a protest rally in the city demanded stern punishment of the attackers. Speakers at the rally said the attack was not merely on Azad but also on the democratic and progressive forces of the country.

Blaming the BNP-led coalition government for harbouring communal forces, they demanded immediate resignation of the home minister.

Former president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury in a statement said: "Repeated attacks on politicians, journalists and intellectuals have proved that the current coalition government have failed to failed to maintain the country's law and order." He also urged the government to abstain from indulging the terrorists in order to protect human rights of the people and save their life and property.

Gano Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain and General Secretary Saifuddin Ahmed Manik blamed communal forces for the attack and said the government could not avoid its responsibility for the terrorist act.

Left leaning 11-party alliance at a protest rally in the city demanded punishment of the culprits and alleged criminals were being encouraged due to the government's failure in taking punitive actions against the terrorists like the killers of journalist Manik.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Inu) said the terrorist act proved that the coalition government miserably failed in maintaining the country's law and order.

Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad in a statement said such dastardly attack on a writer of freethinking stirred our conscience. Terming the attack pre-planned and designed to kill Azad, he remarked it proved that there was no security for anyone in the country.

In separate statements, Supreme Court Bar Association President Rokanuddin Mahmud and General Secretary M Mahbub Ali, State Minister for Cultural Affairs Selima Rahman and DU Vice Chancellor (VC) SMA Faiz condemned the attack and demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the criminals. The DU VC also sought financial assistance from the government for better treatment of the victim.

Law Minister Moudud Ahmed said such heinous attack on one of the country's noted linguist and researcher was unfortunate. "We will have to vigilant so that such incidents do not occur again," he added.

Our Rajshahi University (RU) correspondent adds: The RU Teachers Association (RUTA) in a statement protested and condemned the 'cowardly' attack and demanded from the government immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers.

Our Narayanganj correspondent reports: Local cultural activists held a rally yesterday at Narayanganj Press Club and will form a human chain today in front of the club to protest the assault.

Renowned poets, artists, litterateurs and intellectuals of the country condemned the outrage in a joint statement, the signatories to which include Khan Sarwar Murshid, Kabir Chowdhury, Arefin Siddique, Gaziul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Syed Shamsul Haque, Muntasir Mamun, Shahriar Kabir, Anisuzzaman, Faiz Ahmed, KM Sobhan, Kalim Sharafi, Rafiqul Islam, AK Azad Chowdhury, Quaiyum Chowdhury, Ramendu Majumder, Rafiqunnabi, Hashem Khan, Rabiul Hussain, Belal Chowdhury, Rafiq Azad, Asad Chowdhury, Mamunur Rashid, Nirmalendu Goon, Muhammad Samad and Anisul Haque.

Our Jahangirnagar University (JU) Correspondent adds: Students of the varsity yesterday brought out a procession and held a rally on the campus to protest the attack and decided to form a human chain this morning in front of Amar Ekushey.

The JU Teachers Association (JUTA) also condemned the attack, terming it an intimidation to the democratic people, and demanded immediate punishment of the assailants. The JUTA will take out a silent protest procession tomorrow on the campus.

Among a horde of other organisations that condemned the attack were Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rob), Left Democratic Front, Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Samonnoy Parishad, Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, Dhaka Union of Journalists, Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Odhikar, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association, Bangladesh Engineering University Teachers Association, Bangladesh Democratic Lawyers Association, Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association, Jatiya Samajtantrik Sramik Jote, Jatiyatabadi Peshajibee Parishad and National Poetry Parishad.