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5 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Despicable attack on Zafar Iqbal

Despicable attack on Zafar Iqbal

We condemn the mindless attack on Professor Zafar Iqbal of Sylhet Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. This is a scar on the collective conscience of the whole nation. Reportedly, a youth who was also photographed behind the professor on the dais of a prize giving programme, carried out the assault using a knife.

The eminent academic, outspoken critic of blinkered social concepts and an unwavering advocate of freedom of speech had to undergo 27 stitches. He is said to be out of danger now. What we find most despicable is the way the act was carried from behind. This is an act of sheer cowardice. The assailant was caught and beaten up by the students though he should be asked why he carried out this heinous act on a man who is loved and revered by the young and old of this country for being an icon of modern thinking.

Iqbal has always been a staunch proponent of free speech though he never disparaged religion or our intrinsic social values. He has been vocal against distortion of religion and radicalism but always a strident supporter of moderation and tolerance.

In the wake of the attack, there is speculation that the young perpetrator of the act might have carried out the violence in reaction to what Professor Zafar Iqbal said to denounce campus ragging and militant behaviour.

Professor Iqbal has rightly criticised two scourges, one which is aimed at shattering a young student’s self-esteem while the other systematically turns a person into a zealot, harbouring extreme views. Both these aberrations severely hamper an academic atmosphere. We salute Zafar Iqbal for speaking out against deeply flawed practices that continue to undermine the liberal views of greater society.

The attack is also reminiscent of a similar incident carried out against another trenchant academician, writer Humayun Azad who survived an indiscriminate hacking but is believed to have died later of internal wounds in Germany. Obviously, it’s not rational to expect noted social thinkers to have armed bodyguards though in certain cases a little caution may be essential. However, what is needed is a cohesive social stance against ideas which lead young men to act in abhorrent cruelty. The attacker needs to be asked why he did what he did and whether he acted alone or was instigated to so by someone else.  

We earnestly pray for the fast recovery of the noted writer, social observer and a celebrated teacher. If there may be any consolation, we would like to say unequivocally that all of sane society is by your side.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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