Life, work of 4 ASK founders celebrated
Through songs, dance and reminiscence of coworkers and families, the life and works of four Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) founding members were celebrated at the Chhayanaut Bhaban in the capital's Dhanmondi yesterday afternoon.
The programme, “Mrittu K Maruk Mrittu Okhoy E Pran”, centring the four -- barrister Salma Sobhan, former attorney general Aminul Haque, Justice KM Sobhan and former inspector general of police Abdul Khaleque -- was organised by the legal rights organisation.
The ASK staff read out excerpts from biographies of the four stalwarts who along with five other members started the organisation in 1986.
Prof Rehman Sobhan, eminent economist and Salma's husband, thanked the ASK family for remembering and pushing forward the cause which Salma had envisioned.
The son of Justice Sobhan also talked about his father's lifelong fight to establish democracy, rule of law and ensure trial of war criminals.
ASK member ZI Khan Panna recounted anecdotes from ASK's early days when it started off in the garage of Nurjahan Murshid's Dhanmondi residence.
Recalling the works of the four, Panna asked, “Can you call democracy whatever is going on in its name?”
He called on the ASK staff to work together to resist the anarchy and protect democracy, freedom, sovereignty and human rights in the country.
Barrister Sarah Hossain, executive member of the ASK, however, questioned whether the ASK was following its members' moral teachings.
She said 20 years ago the ASK did not think twice about supporting the legal rights of feminist writer Taslima Nasreen when extremists issued fatwa against her for her writings.
“But today when freedom of speech is being suppressed in the name of protecting nationalistic sentiment, the ASK has remained quiet,” she said.
Recognising the inspiration that the founder members continue to provide for the ASK, Sultana Kamal, the organisation's executive director, welcomed the self-criticism and self-assessment which she opined would help reevaluate the ASK's works.