South Asian activists, academics, journalists urge Sri Lanka not to violate fundamental rights in the name of combating terror


SriLanka statement-Wire-collage

Top row (L-R): Sima Samar, Kanak Mani Dixit, Hamida Hossain. Bottom row (L-R): Uma Chakravarti, Shahidul Alam, Pamela Philipose, Beena Sarwar. Collage: TheWire.In

Thanks to friends who initiated this statement in solidarity with the artists, thinkers and people of Sri Lanka, that I have signed along with over 250 other activists, academics and journalists from across South Asia. Please feel free to endorse and share. Signatories include human rights activists from Afghanistan and Bangladesh, journalists from Nepal, Pakistan and India, and historians and feminists from India and Pakistan, among others who have been at the forefront of facing similar realities in their respective nation-states for decades. Full text below, updated from the version published earlier in


May 2, 2019:

We the undersigned, who are from and live in the various nation-states of South Asia, express our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. We express our solidarity with those working tirelessly to address the needs of the injured in the aftermath of this carnage and to sustain interfaith and community relationships.

While we support all justice efforts that seek to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable, we also urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that in the name of combating terror and ensuring national security, fundamental human rights and dignity of all concerned are not violated.

We say this because in all our countries, investigation into terror and anti-terror legislation have been accompanied by consistent and continuing violation of civil and democratic rights. Further in the name of ensuring national security successive governments in the region have sought to legitimise their various acts of impunity – directed against not only purported or possible suspects but entire sections of the civilian population. This has led to unaccountable loss of life and a steady erosion of democratic guarantees, institutions and in unaccounted for deaths and disappearances.

We note with concern that media reports and remarks by state officials and political leaders in Sri Lanka have pointed to State inaction with respect to warnings by intelligence agencies about possible acts of terror. Such inaction and indifference, we regret to note, amount to State complicity with the violence that subsequently unfolded.

We are also concerned that the ‘owning up’ of these acts by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (Daesh) might encourage Islamophobic attitudes attitudes and expressions, both on the part of the Sri Lankan government and sections of civil society. Should this happen, Sri Lanka would be tragically drawn in to a familiar international discourse and practice to do with ‘Islamic terror’ with all the resultant tragedies, as we have witnessed across Asia. In a country that has barely recovered from decades of civil mistrust, war and violence, this cannot bode well for its sovereignty, civil peace and economic and social life.

We wish to point out that the so-called war on ‘Islamic terror’ has resulted in large numbers of the Islamic faith being persecuted, both in their countries and across the world – and this sadly only enhances the appeal of those who seek to wage war in the name of Islam and what they perceive as Islamic concerns and interests. Thus is set in motion a cycle of violence that benefits no one but the Arms trade and industries, and political powers that seek to establish their hegemony in the region at all costs.

In this context:

  • We support all struggles to ensure transparent and fair pursuit of justice for the victims of the blast.
  • At the same time,
  • we stand with those who are against undemocratic anti-terror laws in Sri Lanka, even if they are purportedly deployed for purposes of investigation and national security.
  • We protest attempts to target or persecute those of the Islamic faith, in the name of countering terror, whether by the state or vigilante groups.
  • We support Muslim communities in the region that have called for peace and are critical of voices from within that endorse extremist religious positions, which polarise everyday life and interactions, and vitiate meaningful dissent and dialogue.
  • We affirm the resilience of diverse cultural and religious traditions in the region that have fostered long standing habits of mutuality, trust and co-existence. We do not wish for the specificity of local beliefs and traditions, of all faiths, to be drawn into polarising global discourses of religious ‘unity’ and ‘singularity’ imposed from above.


  1. Massihullah, Kabul Afghanistan
  2. Sima Samar, Afghanistan


  1. Anju Kandel, Nepal
  2. Deepa Gurung, Nepal
  3. Hari Sharma, Kathmandu, Nepal
  4. 101, Nepal
  5. Kanak Mani Dixit, Kathmandu
  6. Kunda Dixit, Kathmandu, Nepal
  7. NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Kathmandu, Nepal
  8. Niranjan Kunwar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  9. Sarita K.C, Nepal
  10. Srishti Jayana, Nepal
  11. Rita Thapa, Nepal


  1. Mangai, India
  2. Abha Bhaiya, India
  3. Abirami Jotheeswaran, India
  4. Amar Kanwar, New Delhi, India
  5. Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times, India
  6. Anuradha Kapoor, India
  7. Arundathi V, India
  8. Ashish kumar Dey, India
  9. Bimla CHandrasekhar, India
  10. Bindu Doddahatti, India
  11. Deepti Sharma, New Delhi, India
  12. Dia Da Costa, India
  13. Dipta Bhog, India
  14. Divya Vaishnava, India
  15. Farida Khan, India
  16. Forum Against Oppression of Women, India
  17. V, India
  18. Gopika Bashi, India
  19. Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, India
  20. Indu Vashist, India/Canada
  21. Iram Saeed, India
  22. Jinee Lokaneeta, India/USA
  23. K, Lalita, India
  24. Kamla Bhasin, India
  25. Khalida Saleem, India
  26. Madhu Mehra, India
  27. Mamta Singh, Women Right Activist, India
  28. Mary John, India
  29. Maya Sharma Vikalp (Women’s Group) , India
  30. Meena Gopal, India
  31. Meera Velayudhan, India
  32. Mohan Rao, India
  33. Mrinalini R, India
  34. Nandini Manjrekar, India
  35. Nandita Shah, India
  36. Nastasia Paul Gera, India
  37. Nazia Akhtar, India
  38. Neelanjana Mukhia, India
  39. Neeraj Malik, India
  40. Nupur Basu, India
  41. Pam Philipose, India
  42. Panchali Ray, New Delhi, India
  43. Ponni Arasu, India
  44. Poonam Batra, India
  45. Prathama Raghavan, Hyderabad, India
  46. Rafiul Alom Rahman, India
  47. Ramakant Agnohotri, India
  48. Rita Manchanda, India
  49. Ritu Dewan, India
  50. Ritu Menon, India
  51. Roshmi Goswami, India
  52. Sabeena Gadihoke, India
  53. Sahba Hussain, India
  54. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, New Delhi, India
  55. Sameera Iyengar, India
  56. Sara Abraham, India
  57. Shohini Ghosh, India
  58. Shrimoyee N, Ghosh, India
  59. Snigdha Chakraborty, India
  60. Sujata Patel, India
  61. Svati Shah, India/USA
  62. Swarna Rajagopalan, India
  63. Tanvi Mishra, New Delhi, India
  64. The Queer Muslim Project, India
  65. Uma Chakravarty, India
  66. Vanita Nayak Mukherjee, India
  67. Veena Shatrughna, India
  68. Vibhuti Patel, India
  69. Mamatha Karollil, India
  70. Afshana Bano, India
  71. Supriya Madangarli, India
  72. Arnicia Kharnaior, India


  1. Abeera Tanveer, Pakistan
  2. Ailya Khan, Pakistan
  3. Ajwah Nadeem, Pakistan
  4. Aminah Waheed Chaudhry, Pakistan
  5. Ameena Rahman, Pakistan
  6. Ammar Ali Jan, Pakistan
  7. Amna Durrani, Pakistan
  8. Amna Iqbal, Pakistan
  9. Amna Mawaz, Pakistan
  10. Anis Haroon, Pakistan
  11. Anoosha Shaigan, Pakistan
  12. Arooj Aurangzeb, Pakistan
  13. Asma Malik, Pakistan
  14. Awami Workers Party, Punjab
  15. Ayra Indrias, Pakistan
  16. Ambreen Ahmad, Pakistan
  17. Baila Anjum, Lahore, Pakistan
  18. Basmina, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  19. Beena Sarwar, Pakistan
  20. Beenish Muhammad Ali, Pakistan
  21. Bonnie Mende
  22. Candas Anjum, Pakistan
  23. Qasim Iqbal, NAZ Pakistan
  24. Faiz Younas, Pakistan
  25. Farida Batool, Pakistan
  26. Farida Shaheed, Pakistan
  27. Fatema Bhaiji, Pakistan
  28. Fatima A. Athar, Pakistan
  29. Fatima Butt, Pakistan
  30. FemSoc at LUMS, Pakistan
  31. Feroza Batool , Pakistan
  32. Fiza Khatri, Pakistan
  33. Furhan Hussain, Pakistan
  34. Ghausia  Rashid Salam, Pakistan
  35. Ghazala Anwar, Pakistan
  36. Gwendolyn S. Kirk, USA/Pakistan
  37. Hadi Hussain, Pakistan
  38. Have Only Positive Expectations — HOPE, Pakistan
  39. Hiba Akbar, Pakistan
  40. Hira Mohmand, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  41. Huma Fouladi, Pakistan
  42. Huma Majeed, Pakistan
  43. Humraz society,  Karachi, Pakistan
  44. Jamaima Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  45. Jawad Anwar, Pakistan
  46. Kashmala Dilawar, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  47. Khawar Mumtaz, Pakistan
  48. Khushbakht Memon, Pakistan
  49. Kishwar Sultana, Pakistan
  50. Kyla Pasha, Pakistan
  51. Lubna Chaudhry
  52. Madiha Latif, Pakistan
  53. Maheen Asif Khan, Pakistan
  54. Malik Moeed, Pakistan
  55. Manal Yousuf, Pakistan
  56. Mani AQ, Pakistan
  57. Maria Rashid, Pakistan
  58. Maryam Hussain, Pakistan
  59. Maryum Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  60. Masooma Fatima, Pakistan
  61. Mehlab Jameel, Pakistan
  62. Melanie D’souza, Pakistan
  63. Momina Jahan, Pakistan
  64. Momina Pasha, Pakistan
  65. Muaaz Ali, Pakistan
  66. Naazish Ata-Ullah, Pakistan
  67. Nabiha Meher Shaikh, Pakistan
  68. Nageen Hyat, Pakistan
  69. Naheed Aziz, Pakistan
  70. Naila Naz, Pakistan
  71. Nasim Begum, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  72. Nasreen Rahman, Pakistan
  73. Neelam Hussain, Pakistan
  74. Nighat Dad, Pakistan
  75. Nighat Said Khan, Pakistan
  76. Nimra Akram, Pakistan
  77. Noreen Naseer Pakistan
  78. O Collective, Pakistan
  79. Omer Arshad, Pakistan
  80. Outcast Magazine, Pakistan
  81. Palvashay Sethi, Pakistan
  82. Queer Karachi, Pakistan
  83. Quratulain Faraz, Pakistan
  84. Rafia Asim, Pakistan
  85. Rahma Muhammad Mian, Karachi
  86. Roohi Khan, Pakistan
  87. Rubina Saigol, Pakistan
  88. Rukhsana Rashid, Pakistan
  89. Saadia Haq, Pakistan
  90. Saadia Toor, USA/Pakistan
  91. Saba Gul Khattak, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  92. Sabeen Andleeb, Pakistan
  93. Sadaf Aziz, Pakistan
  94. Sadia Afridi, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  95. Sadia Khatri, Karachi, Pakistan
  96. Saima Jasam, Pakistan
  97. Saima Munir, Pakistan
  98. Saleha Rauf, Pakistan
  99. Saman Rizvi, Pakistan
  100. Samavia Malik, Pakistan
  101. Samina Orakzai, Pakistan
  102. Samina Orakzai, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  103. Sana Naeem, Pakistan
  104. Sarah Humayun, Pakistan
  105. Sarah Suhail, Pakistan
  106. Sarah Zaman, Pakistan
  107. Sehrish Tariq, Pakistan
  108. Shafeeq Gigyani, Peshawar Pakistan
  109. Shagufta Rehmat, Pakistan
  110. Shazia Shaheen, Pakistan
  111. Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre, Pakistan
  112. Shmyla Khan, Pakistan
  113. Shumaila Kausar, Pakista
  114. Shumaila Shahani, Pakistan
  115. Syed Raza Haider, Pakistan
  116. Tabitha Spence, Pakistan
  117. Tahira Kaleem, Peshawar, Pakistan
  118. Tehreem Azeem, Pakistan
  119. The Enlight Lab, Pakistan
  120. Wafa Asher, Pakistan
  121. Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan
  122. Yusra, Pakistan-Afghan Border
  123. Zahra Durrani, Pakistan
  124. Zakia Majid, Pakistan
  125. Zeenat Afridi, Pakistan – Afghan Border
  126. Zeenia Shaukat, Pakistan
  127. Zehra Keshf, Pakistan
  128. Ambreen Ahmad
  129. Zahra Batool
  130. Zoya Anwer
  131. Zoya Rehman, Pakistan


  1. Amena Mohsin, Dhaka Bangladesh
  2. Anusheh Anadil, Dhaka , Bangladesh
  3. Arup Rahee, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  4. Adilur Rahman Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  5. Dr Asif Nazrul, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  6. Dr Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  7. Dr Ridwanul Hoque, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  8. Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  9. Dr. Faustina Pereira, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  10. Dr. Shahidul Alam, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  11. Dr. Shahnaz Huda, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  12. Fahmidul Haq, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  13. Firdous Azim, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  14. Galiba Rabbani, Bangladesh
  15. Gitiara Nasreen, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  16. Hana Shams Ahmed, Bangladesh/Canada
  17. Inclusive Bangladesh, Bangladesh
  18. Jibanananda Jayanta, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  19. Khushi Kabir, Bangladesh
  20. Md.Nur Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  21. Meghna Guhathakurta, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  22. Mirza Taslima Sultana, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  23. Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  24. Mohammed Iqbal Hossaion, Bangladesh
  25. Monika Biswas, Bangladesh
  26. Muktasree Chakma Sathi, Bangladesh
  27. Perween Hasan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  28. Rahnuma Ahmed, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  29. Reetu Sattar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  30. Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  31. Rina Roy, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  32. Selima Sara Kabir, Bangladesh
  33. Shaheen Anam, Bangladesh
  34. Shamsul Huda, Bangladesh
  35. Sharnila Nuzhat Kabir, Bangladesh
  36. Shireen P Huq, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  37. Sultana Kamal, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  38. Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Bangladesh
  39. Farzana Ferdausi , Possibility,  Bangladesh


  1. Aurangzaib Alizai, Thailand
  2. Kumkum Dey, New Jersey
  3. Rumah Pelangi Indonesia
  4. Indonesia for Humanity (IKa), Indonesia


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