South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses its severe shock and vehement condemnation at the gruesome killing of Nazimuddin Samad, a 28 year old law student and secular activist on 7 April. According to the police he was targeted for his outspoken support of the demand for capital punishment which is still the highest form of punishment that Bangladesh has, for those indicted for crimes against humanity committed during the independence war in 1971 and for his strong secular views, as expressed in social media.
SAHR has been deeply concerned about the escalating pattern of brutal violence unleashed against bloggers, secular writers, free thinkers, atheists, rationalists, and those who have supported them, by armed religious extremists groups which has claimed five lives and attempted attack on 3 more, only in 2015, last year and forced many others to go into exile. In the recent past, in addition to the above, Shiite Muslims, Christians, priests belonging to other religions or thoughts, as well as foreigners have been subjected to severe violence.
Therefore, SAHR calls upon the government to publicly condemn such acts and immediately act on due diligence to ensure their non recurrence; to resolutely act against the issues of terrorism and religious extremism; and to strengthen democratic norms and rule of law. It also emphasises the importance of due processes implemented to impartially investigate the terror incidents carried out by extremist groups in the name of religion.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Nimalka Fernando