The editorial collective of the Indian Cultural Forum stands in solidarity with the protesting students in Bangladesh. The students have every right to express their concern for road safety measures, especially after two students, Abdul Karim and Dia Khanon Mim of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School were run down by a private bus in Dhaka on 29 July.
In addition to the police crackdown of the democratic and peaceful protests, we are appalled to know that the government of Bangladesh has arrested and detained the protesting students. We have received reports of around 22 students from East West University, North South University, Southeast University, and Brac University being lodged in jail.
We also express our concern for the photojournalist, Shahidul Alam, who has been arrested under Section 57 of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Act after he was interviewed by Al Jazeera. The ICT Act has been used indiscriminately on several journalists since it came into existence in 2006, and has been instrumental in curbing the freedom of speech in Bangladesh.
We demand that the government of Bangladesh ensure that Alam, along with the students, are released immediately, and their demands are met. In a democratic society, peaceful protests with legitimate demands cannot be met with a violent state crackdown.