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The International Publishers Association is calling for international donations to protect the legacy of the Bangladeshi publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan who was murdered by religious extremists on 31 October 2015.
The organisation has given 1,000 Swiss Francs (approximately $1050) and is now looking for contributions from the international publishing community. Dipan was posthumously given the IPA’s Prix Voltaire (‘Freedom to Publish’) Special Award in 2018. His widow, Razia Rahman Joly, has continued her husband’s publishing house, Jagriti Prokashony, and opened a bookshop and new publisher, Diganpur, in his memory. But three months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic means the shop is now in danger of closing and also faces eviction.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: “The COVID-19 Pandemic is a huge challenge for publishers and bookshops around the world but Dipan’s brave work as a publisher and Razia’s commitment to his legacy deserve our support. No-one has faced justice for Dipan’s death. To lose this publisher and this bookshop in this country would be a victory for those who seek to deprive all of us of our freedom of expression through intimidation.”
Jolly said: ‘Dipanpur is not just a publishing house or bookshop. We also arrange worskhops or training sessions for children on creative writings, drawing, singing, and debates. We have an auditorium with a cultural programme where we hold book launches and workshops. We have a spacious lounge where people can sit reading and can have a quality time with friends and family. My husband, Dipan, is everywhere – the cafe is Dipanjoly, the children’s corner is Dipantor, the auditorium is Dipantola, all positive words in the Bangla language.”
She added: “I also run the publishing house Dipan started in 1992, named Jagriti. We published more than 50 new books for this year’s book fair and reprinted many of our old renowned books. But the Corona situation has affected us badly. Publishing books is the only way of protesting Dipan’s murder in a region where freedom of speech is severely challenged and fundamentalism has seen many publishers and authors hurt or killed. Without financial support, I don’t see how I can continue this publishing house.
Donations of any amount can be made to the Jagriti Publishing House through:
Recipient: Jagriti Prokashony
Account Number: 111-0210000725
Bank: Jamuna Bank
Branch: Elephant Road Branch